Sunday 6 August 2017

TLFG: 7-13 August 2017

It's nearly here. The final countdown has begun - by the end of the week, the football season will be fully underway at every level which TLFG covers.

The weekend just gone saw the EFL and FA Cup get going. This week sees the Premier League, Premier League 2, and sides in the seventh and eighth tiers finally join the party.

Once again I've missed out on seeing live football but this week it was a conscious choice - it was either go to a game or write this blog. Such is my devotion to you, dear readers, that I opted for the latter.

It was a tough decision as QPR gave one of their best performances for a while against a highly rated Reading side. Two Conor Washington goals got the crowd roaring within earshot of my flat and saw off Jaap Stam's side with relative ease as a high energy pressing game won the day for the hosts. 

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I also passed up the chance to join German TLFG reader Christoph for the Tottenham game against Juventus at Wembley which kicked off at 530pm - but then so did most people as only 26,251 turned up for a game which, although attractive, was significantly overpriced when it first went on sale.

Railway improvement work could have a serious impact on your journey to football this month

In fact, the last two Non-League Finals Days drew significantly higher crowds to Wembley which is a little bit of a worry - I'm sure it will be a different story when Chelsea head there for Spurs' first home game later this month. Although, it should be noted that the Blues have only been given 3,000 tickets!

In other news, the capital is currently playing host to the World Athletics Championships over at the London Stadium. I've not been to see a West Ham game there yet but I do have tickets for the athletics on Saturday so will have to see what it's like.

Also this week, I'd like to draw your attention to the huge engineering project which has begun at Waterloo station over the weekend. From now until 28 August, roughly half of the UK's busiest station will be closed meaning a huge reduction in trains and the temporary closure of some suburban stations.

This will definitely affect people going to watch AFC Wimbledon as Norbiton station will be closed throughout the works. Brentford and fans travelling to Fulham via Putney might notice a difference too. 

At non-league level many sides will be affected with Corinthian Casuals and Chessington & Hook United seeing the branch line they both play on closed.

If you're heading out of London - Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Southampton are the league clubs most likely to be affected whilst trips to Aldershot Town, Eastleigh and Woking could be difficult too.

Things are likely to be worse for midweek games as more people are likely to be travelling so please make sure you plan ahead and use an alternative transport option where possible.

There are over 80 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with all our major football leagues in action.

There are also some EFL Cup games and FA Cup replays, some of which are yet to be confirmed so check back as the week progresses.

As always, 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.

Now in it's 131st year, the Nationwide Football Annual is back for 2017-2018

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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin

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 7 August

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Tower Hamlets v FC Broxbourne Borough @745pm - get your week underway with some cup football in Mile End. These two fought out a 1-1 draw in the original tie on Saturday

Pre-season friendly
Barking v Clapton @745pm - two east London neighbours play a match in honour of teenage Barking player Joshua Bwalya who was murdered last Tuesday by a masked gang


Tuesday 8 August

EFL Cup First Round
AFC Wimbledon v Brentford @745pm - probably the match of the round from a London perspective is this derby at Kingsmeadow. If you do fancy going, please be aware that because of engineering work Norbiton station, which serves the ground, is closed and trains to Kingston will take longer than usual and could be heavily overcrowded so leave in good time
Millwall v Stevenage @745pm - with Stevenage coming from just outside London, the Lions effectively have a derby to look forward to as well
Queens Park Rangers v Northampton Town @745pm - QPR's record in the early rounds of this competition over recent years has been pretty poor and the Cobblers could well win if the hosts make a lot of changes

National League
Boreham Wood v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - the Wood picked up a very useful point at AFC Fylde on the opening day of the season and next welcome title contenders and local rivals Dagenham. The Daggers started their campaign with a 2-1 win over Barrow
Leyton Orient v Solihull Moors @745pm - the O's began life among the non-league ranks with a disappointing 2-0 reverse at Sutton on Saturday. The bright spot from my point of view was the enormous 3,000+ crowd which turned out to watch it. The east London club will hope to get back on track against Solihull whose first game was postponed following safety concerns over their stadium

National League South
Welling United v Chelmsford City @745pm - the pick of the games in this division, the Wings welcome the bookies' title favourites Chelmsford to Park View Road. Welling travelled all the way down to Truro on Saturday only to lose 3-2 while City flexed their muscles with a 2-0 win over Gloucester
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Oxford City @745pm - in the night's other game, Hampton and Richmond go after their first win of the season as they look to at least make the play-offs again. This could also be affected by the railway works with trains to Hampton likely to be busy

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replays
CB Hounslow United v Rusthall @745pm - the hosts play the first FA Cup match at their new stadium near Heathrow - be part of it!
Wadham Lodge v Framlingham Town @745pm - the hosts failed to beat FA Cup debutants Framlingham on Saturday despite having an extra man for the final 30 minutes

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Meridian VP v Bridon Ropes @745pm - way down in the 10th tier we've got a groundshare derby to enjoy. These two play a stone's throw from The Valley down in south-east London

Pre-season friendlies
AFC Hornchurch v West Ham United XI @730pm - with the Bostik League yet to get started, the Urchins have arranged a warm-up against a Hammers' development side
Thurrock v Colchester United U23 @745pm - the other notable friendly of the night takes place a short drive to the south where newly promoted Thurrock complete their preparations before returning to seventh-tier football


Wednesday 9 August

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replays
Erith Town v Rochester United @745pm - after fighting out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, Erith welcome SCEFL rivals Rochester to Oakwood
Waltham Forest v FC Romania @745pm - a last-minute goal saw Forest earn a replay against their Essex Senior League rivals on Saturday


Friday 11 August

Premier League
Arsenal v Leicester City @745pm - the new Premier League season kicks-off on Friday night with this match at the Emirates between the FA Cup holders and the 2015/16 Premier League winners. The Gunners have been inconsistent in pre-season but ended it on Sunday by beating Chelsea on penalties to claim the FA Community Shield for the 15th time. The Foxes never came close to retaining their title last season and have only won two of their seven friendlies this summer but they'll probably be fired up for this one

Premier League 2
Fulham v Middlesbrough @2pm - with tickets for the Arsenal match above almost impossible to get without membership or a lot of money, you could enjoy a PL2 double instead. If you don't know, this competition features the best U23 sides in the country in a league format. On Friday, you can start the day at Fulham's Motspur Park training ground for this one and then make your way, train disruption permitting, over to east London for...
West Ham United v Everton @7pm - the Hammers' youngsters entertain their counterparts from Goodison Park at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground in what looks like a fine game on paper

Saturday 12 August

Premier League
Chelsea v Burnley @3pm - the Blues begin the defence of their title with what should be a comfortable enough home win. However, the Clarets have proved to be a bit of a thorn in Chelsea's side in recent years, drawing two of the four games the sides have played since 2015
Watford v Liverpool @1230pm - earlier in the day, the Hornets face a tough opener against Jurgen Klopp's Reds. New boss Marco Silva takes charge of his first competitive game at Vicarage Road but with only two wins in 10 against the Anfield club, he knows it will be an achievement to get anything
Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town @3pm - in the day's other top-flight game, the Eagles face a visit from Premier League new boys Huddersfield. The Terriers haven't played at the top level since the '70s so will want to make the most of the experience

Brentford v Nottingham Forest @3pm - the Bees narrowly lost at promoted Sheffield United on Saturday and will hope to pick up their first points against Forest who saw off Millwall in another closely contested game on Friday
Millwall v Bolton Wanderers @3pm - the Lions' first home game back in the Championship is against a side who they came up with. The Trotters enjoyed a ding-dong battle with Leeds on Sunday but ultimately lost 3-2

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Shrewsbury Town @3pm - neither side are expected to pull up many trees this season but both will hope to comfortably avoid the drop. The Dons picked up an impressive point at Scunthorpe while the Shrews saw off Northampton on a decent opening day for both

League Two
Barnet v Luton Town @3pm - effectively a derby, this game has become even more interesting after looking at Saturday's results. The Bees did really well to come back from 2-0 down to draw at big spending Forest Green while the Hatters showed why they're being tipped to win the division by thrashing Yeovil 8-2!

National League
Leyton Orient v Maidstone United @3pm - two of the best supported clubs in this division meet at Brisbane Road on Saturday for what is also pretty much a derby. The last time they played was way back in 1990 when the Stones were enjoying their brief stint in the Football League. They met in the League Cup over two legs and the O's won 6-3 on aggregate

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Staines Town @3pm - nothing really stands out in the National League South so the focus next moves to the seventh tier where the Hamlet start the season in the newly named Bostik League as title favourites. After several years of falling short in the play-offs, the pressure is really on boss Gavin Rose to deliver. However, huge investment at Billericay which has brought the likes of Paul Konchesky, Jamie O'Hara and Jermaine Pennant to the Essex club should ensure they don't have it all their own way

Bostik League North Division
AFC Hornchurch v Soham Town Rangers @3pm - in the division below Dulwich, the Urchins are set to spearhead the Greater London area challenge for the North Division title. Soham aren't fancied to do much so really must be beaten
Aveley v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - its's a huge day for the Millers who play the first competitive game at their impressive new Parkside stadium. Fellow Essex club B&P make the short trip from Basildon to help them mark the occasion

Bostik League South Division
Greenwich Borough v Whyteleafe @3pm - in the parallel South Division, Boro are tipped to be champions. Having spent a tidy sum on players since new owners took over, they will be expecting promotion after falling just short last season

Evo-Stik League Division 1 East
Hayes & Yeading United v Aylesbury @3pm - after suffering another very disappointing relegation, former fifth-tier side H&YU will be starting life at level eight for the first time I can remember. Hopefully they'll be able to play this game at their new stadium but it keeps failing safety inspections so this game could well get moved to somewhere else

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Hadley v Harpenden Town @3pm - I've picked this one as if Saturday's results are anything to go by, this could produce a cricket score. Hadley won 9-1 at Langford in the FA Cup while Harpenden got stuffed 5-1 at Southall who play in the division below! It could be a long afternoon for the visitors - it'll probably finish goalless now


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.

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!

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1 comment:

  1. Just a bit of background on the spurs attendance at Wembley. This wasn't a Spurs home game so it wasn't priced by the club. The company organising it, Relevant Sports, set the prices. There's was a mass boycott by regular Spurs season ticket holders objecting to the prices. Upon investigation, the same company set sky high prices for the Spurs tour to USA ore season too with considerable backlash too. Last season their CEO also questioned the right to clubs like Leicester & Spurs competing in a champions league. They did a good job of pissing people off without even trying!

    Chelsea's 3000 allocation is consistent with PL rules. It is 10% of capacity or 3k, whichever is the smaller (subject to police advice & segregation requirements). All the PL with huge stadiums, United, Arsenal, City, Newcastle, none of them need to give the away club more than 3,000 tickets. 3,000 is also more than any club got at WHL last season