Sunday, 23 July 2017

TLFG: 24-30 July 2017

Hello one and all and welcome to TLFG.

With July drawing to a close, pre-season is really hotting up with a number of our biggest clubs in action in the capital.

As a result, the amount of matches outside London which are covered has reduced to ones featuring Premier League, European or EFL sides which this blog normally covers.

With the quality of teams and matches improving, TLFG's Daily Digest is also back instead of the Top 10.

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Readers last week may remember my aspiration to go and watch Carshalton Athletic take on QPR but it didn't happen as childcare intervened.

However, I engaged in something far more rewarding on Wednesday when I joined a work party at Earlsmead Stadium cleaning up the ground ahead of the forthcoming friendly between Harrow Borough and a Cardiff City XI (Saturday 29 July, 2pm).


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Having seen an advert for volunteers on the club's website, I headed down there on my day off and introduced myself to the team leader Noel who put me to work with a fellow vice-president Michael.

Our first task was to head to the main stand and reach down into the gap between the back row of seats and the wall and retrieve all the rubbish that had been dumped there over the previous season or two. We brought up all kinds of stuff including many polystyrene cups and chip holders, bottles, cans, crisp packets and even a couple of old Hendon programmes from when they were groundsharing.

Next up we de-mossed the terrace behind one of the goals and then finished up by weeding one of the car parks. It all took about two-and-half hours.

Although not glamorous work, I'd done my bit for a club I'd supported pretty much remotely for the best part of 25 years but most importantly I'd got to meet some of the people who make the club tick - something I'd been meaning to do for a while.

A bin full of weeds - the product of a fine morning's graft

Non-league clubs up and down the country are always looking for volunteers to do all kinds of jobs and can offer great work experience opportunities if you're trying to build up your CV so contact your local one if this is something that could be of interest to you.

The other thing to note this week is that aside from all the friendlies, we have some competitive football too. The Essex Senior League season starts on Saturday, we've got a couple of games in the opening round of the Herts Charity Shield and we've also got the final of the Middlesex Senior Cup which could be a cracker.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with several Premier League sides, a number of top European clubs and EFL teams playing friendlies.

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 (orange 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.


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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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




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 24 July
Edgware Town v FC Deportivo Galicia @730pm - the pick of the friendlies sees the Wares host up and coming side FCDG. Promoted from the Middlesex County Football League into the 10th tier at the end of last season, the club who are primarily made up of players with Spanish heritage, will look to test themselves against a team from the level above
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Tuesday 25 July
Charlton Athletic v Norwich City @745pm - the biggest game in London on Tuesday is this friendly between the League One Addicks and Norwich who are fancied to do well in the Championship
Middlesex Senior Cup Final @730pm - there's some real silverware at stake over at the Beveree where Hampton & Richmond Borough host Wealdstone. This game has been held over from last season after Hampton's qualification for the National League South play-offs
Hayes & Yeading United v Harrow Borough @745pm - the hosts have been given permission to host this friendly against local rivals Harrow at their newly built stadium, however, only part of the ground will be open

Outside London
Southend United v Brighton & Hove Albion @745pm - a short journey east of London will take you to the Essex seaside town of Southend where the local League One side have landed this friendly against Premier League newcomers Brighton
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Wednesday 26 July
Thurrock v Southend United XI @745pm - the hosts won promotion back to the seventh tier last season and welcome a Shrimpers squad for an Essex derby

Outside London
Luton Town v Leicester City @745pm - the Hatters are favourites for the League Two title and they've managed to arrange this high profile friendly against the 2015/16 Premier League champions
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Thursday 27 July
Boreham Wood v Arsenal XI @730pm - the Wood have very strong links with the Gunners and a pre-season game between the two has become an annual event. The Premier League side will probably only field members of their U23 side but there could be one or two recognisable faces
CB Hounslow United v Walton Casuals @730pm - the Combined Counties League side played the first match at their new ground on Saturday. If you're a groundhopper who didn't make it to that and would like to tick it off your list, this is your chance
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Friday 28 July
Sutton United v Norwich City XI @745pm - the U's penultimate pre-season game sees them take on a side from the Canaries. Sutton have been recreating their famous FA Cup run of the late '80s this summer by playing Coventry who they famously beat and now Norwich who eventually knocked them out
Greenwich Borough v Millwall XI @745pm - with former Millwall player Gary Alexander now manager at Greenwich, a pre-season game against the Lions is becoming an annual fixture. The hosts should be among the favourites for the Bostik South title this season

Outside London
MK Dons v Leicester City @745pm - the Foxes play their second friendly of the week just to the north of the capital with this match against League One opposition
Aldershot Town v AFC Wimbledon @730pm - if the thought of attending a game at Stadium:MK is too much, head down to Hampshire where two phoenix clubs meet at the Recreation Ground
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Saturday 29 July
The Emirates Cup - this annual tournament hosted by Arsenal is one of the highlights of the pre-season period in London. The opening day this year features games between Red Bull Leipzig and Sevilla (2pm) and Arsenal and Benfica (420pm)
Brentford v Celta Vigo @3pm - the Bees end their pre-season campaign against Spanish top flight side Vigo. The Galician club finished finished 13th in La Liga last season so should provide a decent test for Dean Smith's team
Fulham v Wolfsburg @3pm - there's a European flavour to proceedings at Craven Cottage too where German outfit Wolfsburg provide the opposition
Queens Park Rangers v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - it seems west London is the place to be for football on Saturday with QPR playing at home too. This fixture against the Cherries is being used as a benefit match for Stan Bowles, arguably the club's best ever player. One of the biggest characters of English football in the '70s, the Mancunian is now suffering from Alzheimer's so proceeds from the game will go to him
Millwall v Granada @3pm - now back in the Championship, the Lions welcome Granada from the parallel second tier in Spain. The Chinese owned club suffered relegation last season and will no doubt be wanting to bounceback straight away
Charlton Athletic v Ipswich Town @3pm - having started the week playing against Norwich, the Addicks end it with a game against the Canaries' biggest rivals Ipswich. The Tractor Boys are usually among the contenders in the Championship but had a disappointing 2016/17 campaign 
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Salford City @3pm - the Beavers have lined up this game against one of the most famous non-league clubs in the country. Part-owned and run by former Manchester United stars Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes, Salford have found themselves the subject of a prime time TV documentary series. Since the takeover, the Ammies have also enjoyed a couple of promotions and an excellent FA Cup run. Proceeds from this match will be going to Bliss who help premature and sick babies

Outside London
Derby County v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim @3pm - although quite a way north of London, Derby can be reached by train from St Pancras in less than 90 minutes and the stadium is close to the station. Hoffenheim finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season to qualify for the Champions League
Reading v Vitesse Arnhem @3pm - the Royals, managed by Jaap Stam, made the Championship play-off final last season but were beaten by Huddersfield. On Saturday they welcome the Dutch Cup winners to the Madejski Stadium (Correction: this match is being played at Wycombe Wanderers' ground)
Slough Town v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - the Rebels play host to the Baggies at their new Arbour Park ground for the testimonial of long serving physio Kevin McGoldrick. This match is ALL TICKET so you must purchase in advance
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Sunday 30 July
The Emirates Cup - day two of the tournament at the Emirates Stadium sees RB Leipzig play Benfica (2pm) and Arsenal take on Sevilla (420pm)

Outside London
AFC Bournemouth v Valencia @3pm - end your weekend with a trip to the Dorset coast and the chance to see one of the biggest names in Spanish football. Bournemouth has one of the best sandy beaches in southern England and is a direct train ride from Waterloo or Clapham Junction
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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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

2 comments:

  1. The Reading v Vitesse Arnhem game is in fact at Adams Park not the Madejski.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jamie - I did notice this earlier in the week but completely forgot about it when putting the map together. Thanks for the correction.

    ReplyDelete