Sunday, 8 January 2017

TLFG: 9-15 January 2017

Greetings one and all and welcome back to TLFG - thanks for reading.

It's been an interesting week with several emails, tweets and messages from 'you lot' seeking advice about all things London football. Hopefully I've been able to assist but although I'll always do my best to help, I'm sadly not a source of Premier League match tickets.

It has been noticeable this season how much harder it has become to get into top flight games via official routes.

With Tottenham closing a significant chunk of their stadium and West Ham moving to a new ground and making it members only for league games - previously two of the most reliable clubs for getting tickets from are now often StubHub or cup matches only.

Crystal Palace, despite their struggles, still only sell to members while Arsenal and Chelsea are pretty much a closed shop unless you're prepared to spend big or go to a Checkatrade Trophy game.

Non-League Finals Day is a great way to spend an afternoon at Wembley

Watford were also asking you to have at least a previous booking history but there seems to be a glimmer of hope there with several games listed on their website as going to general sale. If you've recently managed to get a ticket to a game at Vicarage Road easily and through official channels then let me know.

Outside the Premier League you can pretty much take your pick with only the occasional derby or visit of Newcastle likely to prove hard to get.

Having been working lates this week I haven't been able to get to a game but I did buy some tickets for QPR v Wigan at the end of the month only to see it postponed after the Latics' win in the FA Cup on Saturday. The tickets were only £10 (a members' special offer) but I'll probably have to get them refunded as I'll probably be working when it's rescheduled.

In other news, the FA Trophy and FA Vase are both starting to get pretty serious with the competitions down to their last 32 and 16 respectively.

After Saturday's results, Southall are now the only London club left in the Vase. It would be quite something for the west London club, who don't play all that far from Wembley, to make the final. They have some pedigree in the tournament too, finishing as runners-up in 1986. Interestingly, the runners-up the previous year were Fleetwood Town who are now pushing for a place in the Championship! 

Don't forget that the Vase and Trophy finals make up Non-League Finals Day at Wembley in May and tickets are now on sale. It's a great day out and with tickets at only £25 for adults and £1 for kids, great value too.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next week with action in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy 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).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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 9 January

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Norwich City @7pm - Monday is rapidly becoming development squad day with this match at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground the pick of the U23 action on offer

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Millwall @1pm - a rung below that we have this south-east London derby at Dulwich Hamlet's ground

Ryman League Division 1 South
Carshalton Athletic v Dorking Wanderers @745pm - the best non-league match of the day takes place at Colston Avenue where sixth placed Carshalton host the current leaders

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Tuesday 10 January

Ryman League Cup Third Round
Dulwich Hamlet v Faversham Town @745pm - the hosts will start as overwhelming favourites against a midtable side from the division below. However, Faversham shouldn't be written off as they made last year's final. It's also only £5 for adults to get in

Ryman League Division 1 North
AFC Hornchurch v Bury Town @745pm - with four wins from their last five, the Urchins have surged into the top four meaning this match against fellow promotion contenders Bury takes on even greater significance

Essex Senior League
Clapton v Haringey & Waltham @745pm - it seems almost unthinkable given where they've been over the last few years but the Tons could go top with a win against struggling Haringey and Waltham

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Queens Park Rangers v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - even though it's not senior football, the biggest crowd of the night could be at Loftus Road where the U18 sides of these two London rivals meet. Tickets are only £3
AFC Wimbledon v Hull City @7pm - in the other match at Kingsmeadow another healthy crowd is expected for this tie. Tickets are £5

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Wednesday 11 January

Ryman League Division 1 South

Walton Casuals v Cray Wanderers @745pm - at eighth and ninth in the table, these two are nipping at the heels of the top five which both could move into with a win

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Southall v Risborough Rangers @745pm - the hosts enjoyed a superb win to move into the last 16 of the FA Vase on Saturday and they could fire themselves firmly into promotion contention with a win against one of the division's top sides

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Thursday 12 January

Southern Combination Cup
Bedfont & Feltham v Staines Town @745pm - the only match of the night takes place next to Heathrow where these two local sides meet. On paper Staines, who play three levels above B&F, should win but they probably won't play a full-strength team

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Saturday 14 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion @1230pm - Spurs are one of the form teams of the division at the moment but the Baggies have also impressed this year and should ensure the north Londoners don't have it all their own way
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @3pm - arguably the biggest match of the day is this derby between one of Sam Allardyce's old clubs and his current one. Palace are in more immediate need of the points but the Hammers are by no means out of the woods just yet
Watford v Middlesbrough @3pm - the Hornets have suddenly gone five games without a win and the heady heights of the top eight which they once occupied now look a long way off. Boro have been down among the scrappers all season and are in marginally better form

Championship
Fulham v Barnsley @3pm - the Cottagers are the best London has to offer in the second tier and keep getting frustratingly close to the top positions only to draw or lose the odd crucial game and stay among the chasing pack. The Tykes, who have struggled when they've played at this level in recent years, are actually above them in eighth so should provide stiff opposition

League One
Charlton Athletic v Millwall @3pm - although only a third tier game, this south-east London derby should generate quite an atmosphere. The last match between them took place just before Christmas and the Lions won 3-1. Sadly, for security reasons, you'll need to be a member to buy tickets or know someone who is
AFC Wimbledon v Oxford United @3pm - if you really crave League One football but can't get into the match above then there are still some tickets on general sale for this one. All four of the teams are neck and neck in the table just off the play-off places

League Two
Barnet v Doncaster Rovers @3pm - the Bees enjoyed a fine derby victory over Leyton Orient on Saturday to move into the play-off places. Next up they have to play the leaders

FA Trophy Second Round - this national competition for sides in the fifth to eighth tiers of English football is now down to its last 32 teams. The winners of each tie get a cheque for £6,000 and move a step closer to Non-League Finals Day at Wembley in May

Bromley v Welling United @3pm - the tie of the round from a London perspective is this derby at Hayes Lane. Sadly the two sides aren't in the same division any more but after a shocking start, Welling have won four of their last five league games in the National League South so will hopefully enter the fray against their higher-ranked rivals with a bit of confidence
Dartford v Chelmsford City @3pm - over at Princes Park there's another very interesting tie between two of the National League South's top five. City are amongst the highest scorers in the division while the Darts seem to specialise in defence
Boreham Wood v Alfreton Town @3pm - after Dagenham & Redbridge, the Wood are the highest ranked non-league club in the capital. This is quite an achievement given their relatively modest supporter base. Alfreton, from Derbyshire, were a National League side too but suffered relegation a couple of seasons ago and will start as underdogs

Ryman League Premier Division
Harrow Borough v Canvey Island @3pm - with it being FA Trophy week, a lot of RLPD games have been postponed meaning this is probably the best of what's left. Both sides are fighting the drop and although Canvey have been pretty poor this season, they did manage to beat high-flying Dulwich on Saturday

Ryman League Division 1 North
Phoenix Sports v Thurrock @3pm - the hosts made the early running this season but a bad run in October and November saw them drop away. However, with five wins from eight they are now back in the top eight and looking in better shape for the visit of title challengers Thurrock

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Sun Sports v London Colney @3pm - despite a sound drubbing by Bromsgrove in the FA Vase, Sun Sports should still hold their heads high after a fine run in the FA Vase. Things aren't going to get any easier on Saturday when the leaders pay a visit

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GET INVOLVED
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.

12 comments:

  1. Good Morning, I think there's a potential double header opportunity on Saturday with Spurs at 1230. A brisk walk up WHL at the end of the game to Coles Park for Brimsdown v Biggleswade @ 3pm in the Spartan Midland Div 1. It's a 20 min walk at a good pace

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    1. Excellent recommendation Kevin

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    2. Perfect, we will try to catch it :-)

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  2. Thanks for great blog! Do I understand correctly there is no Non-league game on Sunday 15th January in London?

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    1. Thanks - as far as I know, there isn't anything

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    2. Done some more checking and there are some women's Premier League games. QPR have a game at Uxbridge FC and Tottenham are playing a match at Cheshunt FC.

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    3. Hi James, thanks a lot for recommendation. I guess we will go and visit one of the matches. What time it starts, also at 3pm ? By the way, I am also fan of QPR , just living in different country :)

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    4. They kick-off at 2pm. More info on QPR:

      http://www.qpr.co.uk/team/women/

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    5. Hi James, thanks for the link, but I am a little bit confused, since there is nothing about the game with Uxbridge FC, but Lewes FA. Can you pls. clarify ? Thanks a lot, Martin

      http://www.qpr.co.uk/team/women/fixtures/index.aspx#Ddj1cIrkDWFQbStZ.99

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    6. The match is against Lewes but is being played at Uxbridge FC

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  3. Pls. can you reccomend any other kind of sport (rugby, speedway ..) we could visit on Sunday ?

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    Replies
    1. The only other thing I could find was the Dafabet Masters snooker tournament which starts on Sunday at Alexandra Palace in North London.

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