Sunday 24 July 2016

TLFG: 25-31 July 2016

It's been a steamy old week in London with temperatures of over 30C (approx 90F) on several days.

Such conditions have been great for most spectators but the players must have found the going pretty tough.

I had hoped to catch a game on Monday night on my way back from Ireland but the flight got held up and I missed out. It's a shame because the match between Hendon and QPR's U21s produced a nine-goal thriller which the visitors edged 5-4.

Did you make it to any games? 

Several readers have been in touch saying they've been to various matches which is great to hear. It's also been interesting to learn that several of you have headed beyond the city limits to take in some of the more interesting friendlies a bit further afield. 

With this in mind, I've made a special effort to see what else is on within a 50-60 mile radius of London and there are some really big games this week which you'll find details of below. Some of them are in locations like Brighton which could make for a good day trip or even an overnighter.

There's only six weeks to go!
With only six weeks to go until Non-League Day, the build up is now starting to get serious. This week I've got a meeting with anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out who have become important partners over the last few years. We'll probably discuss which games they'll hope to hold events at on the day so I'm looking forward to making a few recommendations. 

Hopefully I'll get to squeeze a game in this week but it will have to be a midweek one.

Right, I think that's it from me. Have a great week of football watching - once again the schedule is packed and the 'Daily Digest' below doesn't even come close to covering all the good games that are on offer so scour those maps to make sure you don't miss out.

There are nearly 100 matches in the London area over the next week as pre-season starts to get into full swing.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed - something which often happens at this time of year. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (white pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures

In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 25 July
Colchester United v Crystal Palace @7pm - a good chance to see a Premier League side in action not too far outside London
Wingate & Finchley v Maidenhead United @745pm - if you don't want to go that far, the next best option is this friendly in the northern suburbs

Tuesday 26 July
MK Dons v Everton @745pm  - if you're a fan of the Toffees you can catch them at Stadium MK just a short trip north of London
Southend United v Newcastle United @745pm - with the weather set fair, this is a fine chance to catch a decent game and combine it with a trip to the Essex seaside
Cambridge United v Aston Villa @730pm - if the coast isn't for you, enjoy a bit of culture in one of the great seats of English learning before heading to the Abbey Stadium for this
Charlton Athletic v Ipswich Town @745pm - the best option within the M25 sees sides from League One and the Championship do battle
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient @745pm - we also have this east London derby to look forward to
Dartford v Gillingham @745pm - talking of derbies, this game between two Kent rivals catches the eye as well

Wednesday 27 July
AFC Wimbledon v Crystal Palace @7pm - the Eagles are in action again but this time it's in a south London derby against the Dons

Thursday 28 July
Harrow Borough v Hemel Hempstead Town @745pm - Boro are averaging four goals a game in pre-season so far but the Tudors, from the National League South, should present a much tougher challenge

Friday 29 July
Reading v Bournemouth @8pm - Jaap Stam's Royals welcome Premier League Bournemouth for a game that could kick-off a great weekend of football watching
Hayes & Yeading United v Hendon @730pm - it is possible that this game could be the first to be played at Hayes' much delayed new ground, check with the club before you travel to confirm this
Chipstead v Crystal Palace U21 @745pm - CANCELLED
Greenwich Borough v Millwall XI @745pm - managed by former Lion Gary Alexander, ambitious Greenwich welcome a side from the Den to their new home

Saturday 30 July
Fulham v Crystal Palace @3pm - the Eagles first XI finish off their week with a trip to Craven Cottage for this derby
Queens Park Rangers v Watford @3pm - just up the road in Shepherd's Bush there's another derby between Championship and Premier League clubs
Millwall v Brentford @3pm - the Lions' Tony Craig enjoys a testimonial against one of his former clubs, it's a London derby too
Charlton Athletic v RKC Waalwijk @3pm - the Addicks welcome Dutch opponents if you fancy something a bit more exotic
Welling United v Bromley @3pm - elsewhere in south-east London we have this derby
Harrow Borough v Wealdstone @3pm - on the north-west side of town it's also the Harrow derby
Clapton v Tower Hamlets @3pm - if you want some competitive football, the Essex Senior League starts on Saturday and this East End derby featuring the support/performance of the Clapton Ultras is the pick for me

Sunday 31 July
Brighton & Hove Albion v Lazio @3pm - head south to the well appointed Amex Stadium to see the promotion seeking Seagulls host one of the big boys of Italian football in arguably the game of the week
Arsenal Ladies v Liverpool Ladies @3pm - back in London, your best option is this Women's Super League game at Boreham Wood

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

1 comment:

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