Sunday, 14 August 2016

TLFG: 15-21 August 2016

My oh my, what a week of football we have to look forward to.

It seemed there were quite a few games on as it took far longer than normal to put the match map together.

When I totted them up I found we have a whopping 109 to choose from!

We've got Premier League, EFL, National League, Ryman League and loads of exciting looking FA Cup ties as the competition reaches its second round or 'Preliminary Round' to give it its official name.

I've tried to keep the 'Daily Digest' below as concise as possible and as a result I've definitely missed a few good games off so make sure you have a good look round the match maps to see if there's anything you'd prefer.

I've been starved of  live football again this week as the build up to Non-League Day continues.

For someone who is heavily involved in football and writes about it in his spare time, the amount I actually get to watch is staggeringly low. That's why I rely so much on other bloggers and writers to do the ground reviews and visits that sometimes appear here.

As I mentioned last week, there were several ground openings taking place and I would've dearly liked to go to at least one - Fisher, Hayes & Yeading United and Hendon apologies for not getting down but hopefully a few people will have read about proceedings here and gone along. Let me know if you did.

Lastly this week, there's just time for another plug for Non-League Day (NLD). Scarily there's less than three weeks to go now and there still feels like there's a lot to do - it always does at this stage.

If you want to see and hear what I've got to say then watch this short film

Our charity fanfunder for Prostate Cancer UK is now up and running and we're getting close to our first £1,000. As with all such pages, there's an obligatory video which I make an appearance in alongside the likes of far greater football luminaries like Les Ferdinand, Gianluca Vialli, Matt Elliott and Guillem Balague.

All have donated rewards and prizes which you can buy or bid for and there's also some exclusive NLD merchandise too. Please take a look and if this blog has been of use to you, I'd really appreciate it if you could put a pound or two PCUK's way. Just to clarify - all profits will go to the charity, none of it will go to me or NLD in any way.

This time next week we'll have almost finalised all the fixtures taking place on the day. There are loads of confirmed games all over the country already so have a look at our match map and see what takes your fancy.

That's enough from me, enjoy your week and let me know what you've been up to. 

There are well over 100 matches in the London area over the next week as the season gets 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
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Orange 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 15 August

Premier League
Chelsea v West Ham United @8pm - a cracking London derby to get the season underway for these two

Premier League 2
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers @7pm - just a short walk from Stamford Bridge we have this U23 game at Craven Cottage where it's only £3 to get in

Ryman League
Kingstonian v Hendon @745pm - both of these teams lost on opening day so will be looking for an instant recovery

Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Redbridge @745pm - east London derby between sides who used to groundshare


Tuesday 16 August

Brentford v Nottingham Forest @745pm  - with a win and a loss apiece, this Championship match looks like being pretty even
AFC Wimbledon v Scunthorpe United @745pm - the Dons have struggled in their first two games in League One and it's not likely to get much easier against the Iron
Barnet v Blackpool @745pm - the Bees have made a solid start and should fancy themselves against their troubled visitiors

National League
Boreham Wood v Tranmere Rovers @745pm - we're only three games in but this is a top-two clash thanks to minnows Boreham Wood getting off to a sensational start

Ryman League
Dulwich Hamlet v Enfield Town @745pm - both have gone close to getting promoted over the last couple of seasons and that's why they're among the favourites to win the title this time

Essex Senior League
London Bari v Clapton @745pm - groundshare derby at the oldest ground in London, Clapton prevailed in the recent FA Cup tie between the two


Wednesday 17 August

Ryman League
Grays Athletic v AFC Sudbury @745pm - now fan-owned, the Gravelmen host newly promoted Sudbury in their first home match of the season

Combined Counties League
Bedfont Sports v Hanworth Villa @745pm - the visitors have made a good start to the season and come into this derby as joint leaders

Southern Counties East League
Croydon v Beckenham Town @745pm - there's also a local derby on the south side of town between sides who live very much in the shadow of Crystal Palace


Friday 19 August

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Aveley v AFC Hornchurch @745pm - what better way to start a weekend of football watching than an Essex derby in the FA Cup


Saturday 20 August

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @3pm - both made unremarkable starts to the season on Saturday and will hope for better in this derby
Watford v Chelsea @3pm - the Hornets managed to draw both games against the Blues last season and I'm sure they'll be more than happy with another point here

Fulham v Cardiff City @3pm - the Cottagers have got off to a flyer, winning all three of their games so will look to push on against the Bluebirds
Queens Park Rangers v Preston North End @3pm - QPR have fared even better and are top of the Championship on goal difference at the time of writing
Millwall v Sheffield United @3pm - according to bookmakers, these clubs are ranked as the two most likely to win the League One title this season so it's a biggie

National League
Sutton United v Macclesfield Town @3pm - newly promoted to the division, the U's welcome former third-tier team Macclesfield for a game which could propel one of them into the top five

Ryman League
Wingate & Finchley v Hendon @3pm - the other north London derby, more of a North Circular derby if you will

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Sporting Bengal United v Clapton @3pm - after seeing off London Bari in the opening round, the Tons have landed a derby against another local rival over in Mile End
Sun Sports v Northwood @3pm - the hosts play in Watford so if you can't get a ticket for the Chelsea game, this derby is well worth a look at instead
Wembley v Harefield United @3pm - if there's a chance of seeing an FA Cup tie at Wembley and you've never been to Vale Farm before, one should never pass it up


Sunday 21 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Bournemouth @4pm - the first ever top flight game to be played at the Hammers' new home

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Cray Valley PM v Hastings United @3pm - a short walk from the historic Eltham Palace, where Henry VIII spent time as a youngster, you'll find yourself able to enjoy a game in possibly the most historic cup competition in the world
Romford v Hullbridge Sports @3pm - if shopping's more your thing, you could combine this match with a trip to the mammoth Lakeside Shopping Centre which is just yards away


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.

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