Monday, 14 November 2016

TLFG: 14-20 November 2016

It's been quite a week in the history of humankind with one surprise candidate landing one of the toughest jobs around but it's one he's always wanted.

Probably most famous for saying things he possibly shouldn't have and being spectacularly unpredictable, Ian Holloway is back in charge at QPR after nearly 11 years away.

A rank outsider at the start of the week, the chatter grew louder and louder until it was announced late on Friday that he was the man chosen to replace Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

A former team-mate of current director of football Les Ferdinand and QPR boss between 2001-2006, Holloway has a strong connection with the club which he tells us is 'his'.

Pay What You Like is back at Champion Hill this Saturday

He steered them to promotion from what is now League One to the Championship in 2004 and has since won impressive promotions into the Premier League with Blackpool and Crystal Palace.

Like Neil Warnock, he is primarily a motivator who can do great things at this level but gets found out badly in the top flight where more tactical nous is required.

When his name first started to crop up many thought appointing him would be a retrograde step, especially when you consider his last job at Millwall went badly wrong. But when you listen to his passion for the club and his desire to succeed, you start to believe he could be the man. All QPR fans will want him to do well and if he fails, it won't be for lack of trying.

His return to the Loftus Road dugout takes place this Saturday when Norwich City visit so the ground should be pretty full and the crowd optimistic.

There are almost 100 matches in the London area over the next week as the Premier League and Championship make their return after the international break. There is also action in League One, League Two, the National League, FA Cup, FA Vase and several minor league and county cup competitions.

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. 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

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 14 November

U23 Professional Development League

Crystal Palace v Watford @1pm - two Premier League sides' youngsters go head-to-head in the early game at Dulwich Hamlet's ground
Millwall v Cardiff City @2pm - if you'd rather see a game in one of the capital's bigger stadiums then this one is being played at The Den

National League South
Wealdstone v Bath City @745pm - the pick of the day's non-league action is to be found at Grosvenor Vale over in Ruislip where the Stones need to win to keep in touch with the play-off places

Ryman League Division 1 South
Carshalton Athletic v Faversham Town @745pm - the Robins welcome last season's beaten play-off finalists in the knowledge that a win will lift them up to second


Tuesday 15 November

International friendly

England v Spain @8pm - after a enjoying a comfortable win over Scotland on Friday, the Three Lions next face 2010 world champions Spain at Wembley. Unsurprisingly, England have lost four of their last five games against one of the powers of world football but historically they are still in front in the head-to-head. If you want to be there, tickets are still available

FA Cup First Round Replay
AFC Wimbledon v Bury @745pm - it seems a bit unfortunate to have to play on the same night as England but quite a few teams are having to do it. If you don't fancy forking out for a friendly at Wembley then this looks like a cracking alternative as two well matched League One sides do battle at Kingsmeadow - it's also only £10 to get in

FA Vase Second Round

Cockfosters v Wembley @745pm - after seeing the original game rained off on Saturday, two of the top five in the Spartan South Midlands League look to take a step closer to Wembley in what should be another decent game


Wednesday 16 November

Essex Senior League

Waltham Forest v Wadham Lodge @745pm - the Walthamstow derby between the long established hosts and new boys Wadham Lodge at the ground of the same name which they share


Friday 18 November

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @12pm - in theory this U23 match between two of London's biggest rivals looks like a great way to kick-off a weekend of football watching. However, the match is being played at Spurs' training ground and I haven't been able to confirm whether it will be open to the public - check the club's website nearer the time or give them a call

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Glebe v Eltham Palace @745pm - the non-league option for the day is this groundshare derby down in Chislehurst where Glebe continue their push for top spot


Saturday 19 November

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @530pm - leaving England aside, the game of the week in the capital should be this one between clubs from the north and east of town. Their relationship has never been great and it became even worse when they fought for control of the Olympic Stadium - a battle the Hammers ultimately won. Games between these two are usually pretty close and often produce a few goals so it's no surprise it's been picked for TV
Crystal Palace v Manchester City @3pm - the Eagles, like last season, started well but are now starting to slump worryingly. Now winless in five, they welcome title contenders City who have hit a rocky patch themselves. This could be a goalfest as neither side are shot shy
Watford v Leicester City @3pm - if the Foxes were last season's surprise package then Watford are raising a few eyebrows this time round. Being in the top eight after 11 games is a great achievement for a side who confounded many by staying up with relative ease last season - long may it continue

Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - the Owls made the play-off final last season and have been up in the top six for most of this campaign. However, a couple of bad results have now left them just below the Cottagers who are now right back in the hunt for promotion after back-to-back wins over Huddersfield and Brentford
Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City @3pm - the hosts have been uninspiring of late and sacked Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink last weekend after a draw at Forest. This week they re-appointed club legend Ian Holloway who distinguished himself as player and manager in two previous spells at the club. He's got a tough opener against the promotion chasing Canaries but the crowd should be well up for it

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bury @3pm - the Dons meet the Shakers for the second time in a matter of days with a victory possibly lifting them into the top six
Charlton Athletic v Port Vale @3pm - the Addicks take on one of Wimbledon's main rivals for a play-off berth so will do them quite a favour if they win

League Two
Barnet v Crewe Alexandra @3pm - a run of four games without defeat has left the Bees on the cusp of the top seven. To break into it they'll need to beat sides like Alex who currently reside there
Leyton Orient v Blackpool @3pm - things were looking pretty bad for the O's a few weeks ago but six points from three games has raised spirits in time for the visit of another one of the division's play-off contenders

National League
Boreham Wood v Southport @3pm - the Wood's main focus this week will be on their FA Cup replay at Notts County but with that out of the way, they'll have a visit from the Sandgrounders to contend with. A win could put them into the top eight

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Welling United @3pm - the Beavers have played some entertaining football since coming back up from the Ryman League but inconsistency has crept in and they're down to fifth in the table. Sadly Welling have been pretty bad for a year or two now and are well on course to suffer a second successive relegation

Ryman League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Worthing @3pm - in many people's eyes these two are underperforming. The two best supported clubs in the division should be doing better. Worthing were top but have fallen away while the hosts are just off the leading pack and should make the play-offs. Apart from anything else it's 'Pay What You Like' with all profits going to charity - there could well be 2,000+ in attendance

Ryman League Division 1 North
Aveley v Maldon & Tiptree @3pm - the Millers in sixth are looking good for a play-off spot but they'll need to be at their best for a visit from the leaders

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Wembley v Berkhamsted @3pm - the Lions are facing a tough run of games at the moment with this visit from fellow top-fivers Berkhamsted being the latest. A win could lift them to second


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. 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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