Monday 25 December 2017

TLFG: 25 December 2017 - 7 January 2018

It's finally here - TLFG's Christmas and New Year Special.

I had hoped to get this out on Saturday evening but loads of other stuff has cropped up this week and it's arriving now so apologies if you've been clicking fruitlessly for 36 hours or so.

Despite beginning work on this around three weeks ago, I'd still like to include more - particularly a review of the year but I simply haven't found the time.

I'd like to know what your football highlights have been.

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My personal highlights have been executing another successful Non-League Day, keeping this blog ticking over and getting involved in Non-League Finals Day again.

I've visited a handful of new grounds to take my tally to 136 and most importantly I've had lots of positive feedback from you lot which I really really appreciate. Some of you have even donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund which was very humbling.

The low points included Harrow Borough's relegation but the subsequent unexpected reprieve was almost as sweet as a promotion! 

A few non-league clubs have gone by the wayside and more are under threat. One of the most troubling stories appeared earlier this week and involved a trademark dispute between Wembley FC and the FA. I don't want to try and explain it in case I get some of the legal details wrong but suffice to say it's been yet another PR disaster for the FA and a petition has been set up to try and get them to back down.

'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' pay a visit to Bromley

The next couple of weeks are action packed as always with loads of derbies and I've actually got quite a bit of time off so will hope to get to at least two or three games.

Some matches have unusual kick-off times so make sure you check with clubs in case I've missed one or put in the wrong time. The good thing about this is that it will be easy to see a couple of games on at least one day if that's what you're looking to do.

TLFG's Premier League ticket page has also been updated. The biggest news is that tickets for Tottenham's forthcoming games against Manchester United and Arsenal at Wembley are both on general sale so get in quick before they sell out.

If you fancy a trip to watch National League side Bromley at some point then take a look at the latest from our good friends at 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' whose latest piece is all about their visit to Hayes Lane.

Right, I think that's about it from me. Have a truly cracking few days, enjoy the food and the football and keep me informed of what you've been up to.

Thanks again for all your support in 2017 and here's to a great 2018!


Please be aware that at this time of year large sections of London's public transport system shut down, particularly on Boxing Day - here are some the most high profile games that will be affected:

Chelsea v Brighton - a large section of the District Line and all of London Overground will be shut on Boxing Day meaning the Piccadilly Line to Earls Court and then a walk or replacement bus
Watford v Leicester - no London Overground, West Midlands Trains or Virgin Trains services will be operating so the Metropolitan Line is your best option
Brentford v Aston Villa - no South Western Railway service so you'll need to get the Piccadilly Line to South Ealing
Millwall v Wolverhampton Wanderers - no Southeastern or London Overground services so the Jubilee Line to Canada Water is probably your best option or a bus from central London

With no national rail services running on Boxing Day, many non-league games out in the suburbs will also be affected so check all details before you travel.

Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Paddington are all closed until 1 January so this could also affect you significantly. Most trains that would normally run from Charing Cross and Cannon Street will now leave from Victoria and the closure of Paddington means trains to Heathrow are not running and you'll have to get the Tube instead which is much slower.

There are over 160 matches in the London area over the next two weeks. The highlights include some big matches in the Premier League and EFL, the third round of the FA Cup and loads of derbies at all levels.

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.
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.

Tuesday (Boxing Day) fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday (New Year's Eve) fixtures - orange pin

Monday (New Year's Day) fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange 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.

Tuesday 26 December

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @1230pm - football on Boxing Day at Wembley seems a very strange idea but that's what's happening for perhaps the first time ever. Southampton isn't a million miles from London so there's a derby flavour to this one. However, despite this, tickets are still readily available
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - of the three Premier League games taking place in London on Boxing Day this is the one that most resembles a derby, given Brighton's close proximity to the capital. The Blues, as reigning champions, will see being third and 16 points off the pace as a disappointing season while for the Albion, 12th at Christmas must be seen as a fine achievement
Watford v Leicester City @3pm - the Hornets are doing well to be in the top 10 at Christmas but their form has dipped badly and they need a win. The Foxes lost to Manchester City in the EFL Cup in midweek but only on penalties so it's likely to be tough

Millwall v Wolverhampton Wanderers @1pm - there's a really good chance of doing a 'double' on Boxing Day thanks to the staggered kick-offs. If the Tottenham game isn't for you, then you could begin proceedings with this game at the Den where the Lions welcome the leaders
Brentford v Aston Villa @730pm - you can then finish off your day with this decent looking game at Griffin Park where the Bees welcome promotion chasing Villa. The one drawback to this is that you must have a previous purchasing history with Brentford or a membership to have any chance of being able to buy a ticket

National League
Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge @1pm - with no local games in League One or League Two the focus switches to the fifth tier where this east London derby is the standout fixture. Both of these clubs were EFL sides not that long ago so are well used to playing each other. Many thought they would both challenge for honours this season but the O's have had a terrible start. However, back-to-back wins in their last two games has got fans believing again
Boreham Wood v Sutton United @3pm - the other match in the division is a north versus south London derby. Both are in the top seven and only three points apart so it should be a well contested game

National League South
Welling United v Dartford @1pm - the big two in south-east London, in non-league terms, meet for what should be another very interesting derby. Normally these games are important, but with Dartford top in a very tight title race and Welling firmly in promotion contention themselves, this could be a corker
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Wealdstone @3pm - the Darts might be top but it's only thanks to goal difference. They're actually level on points with FOUR, yes four, other teams in what must be the most exciting title battle in the country. Hampton are one of the others and they welcome fellow west Londoners Wealdstone who, like Welling, still have plenty to play for themselves

Bostik League Premier Division
Tooting & Mitcham United v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - the game of the day at this level is undoubtedly this south London derby at Imperial Fields. These old rivals haven't been in the same division for a few seasons so excitement and build up around this fixture has been building for months. With one down near the bottom and the other right up near the top, there's a lot riding on it too
Harrow Borough v Hendon @1pm - it's derbies all the way at non-league level as these two old rivals who were groundsharing until a couple of seasons ago meet for what will hopefully be another goalfest. The last two Boxing Day games between tended 5-4 to Harrow in 2016 and 5-5 in 2015. At the beginning of this season in the reverse fixture, Hendon won 6-0

Bostik League South Division
Carshalton Athletic v Corinthian Casuals @3pm - a south London derby and third versus fourth, in other words a big game. With the two sides above them both having games in hand, both sides need to win


Wednesday 27 December

Bostik League Premier Division
Metropolitan Police v Leatherhead @745pm - although the Met are in the top seven and the Tanners could get to that level if they win their games in hand, it's not the most enticing fixture but on paper it's the best there is on Wednesday

Bostik League North Division
Romford v AFC Hornchurch @745pm - if you live on the east side of town you might actually argue that this is far more of a draw and you might well be right even though it's from the level below. Very much a derby, Romford have sadly been exiled from their home town for several years but still play relatively close by at Thurrock. The Urchins are currently top of the league and must start as favourites as the hosts are bottom


Thursday 28 December

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Arsenal @8pm - at last we have our first genuine Premier League London derby of the festive period. Given Palace's recent resurgence, which has seen them go eight games without defeat, this is quite a hard one to call. Although the Gunners are well above in them table, their defence is dodgy and I can very easily see the Eagles getting at least a draw

Friday 29 December

Millwall v Queens Park Rangers @745pm - the weekend gets underway with another derby in the second tier. Games between these two have a had a bit of an edge to them in recent seasons with the worst crowd disturbances I have seen at Loftus Road in many years coming when the Lions pay a visit. Suffice to say that although I'm free, I'm not in a hurry to go to this one. Apart from that, QPR's record against Millwall is pretty poor with only two wins from the last 10, both coming at home. The last time Rangers won at Millwall was in 1990 at their old ground 


Saturday 30 December

Premier League
Chelsea v Stoke City @3pm - although there's a fair bit of Premier League football going on in London over Christmas and New Year, with all due respect, not much of it is big box office stuff. Sadly, this clash against an ailing Potters side doesn't really get my pulse racing but saying that, it has still sold out
Watford v Swansea City @3pm - again another fairly nondescript match between two of the division's smaller teams one of whom is really struggling. You shouldn't struggle getting a ticket for this one

Brentford v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - with Millwall and QPR playing the night before, this is all there is in the EFL on Saturday. Given Griffin Park's relatively small size, it should be close to capacity for the visit of one of the division's biggest clubs 

National League
Leyton Orient v Bromley @3pm - the O's continue their festive programme with another tough derby against a side pushing for promotion

Bostik League North Division
Barking v AFC Hornchurch @3pm - there are a few games in the Bostik Premier on Saturday but none are particularly significant instead I've dropped a division for this one. As mentioned above, the Urchins are top at the time of writing and after playing near neighbours Romford on Wednesday they next have to play Barking who are also from just down the road. However, the hosts are a much better side than Romford so it could be close

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Croydon v AFC Croydon Athletic @3pm - the Croydon derby, 'nuff said

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Harefield United v Hillingdon Borough @3pm - with both sides having seen very much better days, bragging rights is pretty much all that's up for grabs in this derby


Sunday 31 December

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Manchester City @12pm - the Eagles' tough Christmas period continues with the visit of the runaway league leaders. Beating most people at will at the moment, City are currently 13 points clear at the top and it could be even more by the time this kicks off. When they met earlier in the season, Palace got crushed 5-0


Monday 1 January

Queens Park Rangers v Cardiff City @3pm - these two have had some big games over the last 15 or so years as they have gone head-to-head in promotion battles in the second and third tiers. The last time this rivalry really came to the fore was when QPR won the Championship in 2010/11 with Neil Warnock as boss. He's now in charge of Cardiff and seemingly working his magic again as they are second at the time of writing. The much-travelled Yorkshireman is held in high esteem by many Rangers fans thanks to that title success and many believe he was dispensed with far too soon by the current regime. His status was further boosted a couple of years ago when he came back in a caretaker capacity for a few games and turned a struggling side into relative worldbeaters overnight before leaving again - the side has never been the same since

League One
Charlton Athletic v Gillingham @3pm - the game of the day in the third tier is this one at the Valley. The Gills are located just outside London on Charlton's side of town so this is effectively a derby. The Addicks, despite being in the top six, haven't won for a while and Gillingham are showing signs of improvement so they'll need to avoid complacency at all costs
AFC Wimbledon v Southend United @3pm - the Dons recorded a hugely impressive and very important victory over Bradford on Saturday but stayed in the bottom four. Escape from it is within touching distance though and victory over a midtable Southend side could lift them up a couple of places

League Two
Barnet v Swindon Town @3pm - it's been a season of struggle for the Bees who got to Christmas with only goal difference keeping them out of the bottom two. Former Premier League club Swindon are the next to visit the Hive and Barnet know they can beat them - the reverse fixture in September saw them pull off a stunning 4-1 win

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient @3pm - at this time of year, the National League get local sides to play their home and away fixtures a week apart so we've got a mirror image of the Boxing Day games taking place here. Therefore if you missed the initial derby between these two or fancy a bit more then you've got your chance here
Sutton United v Boreham Wood @3pm - likewise you've got the second instalment of this south versus north London clash
Bromley v Ebbsfleet United @745pm - and you can combine any of the above with this Kent derby which kicks-off in the evening

National League South
Dartford v Welling United @3pm - the same formula is in place in the NLS so we have a reprise of the Darts against the Wings
Wealdstone v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - the Stones host the Beavers as well

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Kingstonian @3pm - after massive games at Tooting and Billericay earlier in the festive period, the Hamlet get the chance to play a home match against the K's who have been among their challengers in recent seasons. Without a ground of their own for the first time in many years, the K's have had to so far settle for a place in midtable. There should still be a crowd in excess of 1,000
Hendon v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - there's a north London derby at Silver Jubilee Park where two of the division's top 10 sides will try and entertain you but the attendance will probably in the 200-250 range

Bostik League South Division
Corinthian Casuals v Walton Casuals @3pm - a lot could change by the time this gets underway but at the moment it's a case of third against fifth
Greenwich Borough v Cray Wanderers @3pm - two more of the current top six meet in Eltham for a game that could send Cray top if they're not there already
VCD Athletic v Phoenix Sports @3pm - the visitors will be targeting a place in the top six over the next couple of weeks and they could get there by winning this derby. These two play about 200m apart and you can hear what's going on in one game while you're at the other

Evo-Stik League East Division
Hanwell Town v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - there's a west London derby to be enjoyed at Reynolds Field. Hanwell have had a poor season whilst Hayes are the best team from TLFG's catchment area in this division. Currently sixth, they have an excellent chance of doing well this season

Tuesday 2 January

Premier League
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion @745pm - two of the division's strugglers meet for a crucial game at the London Stadium. Both have recently installed new managers with the Hammers' David Moyes so far having the most success. Former West Ham boss Alan Pardew is yet to record a win since taking over at the Hawthorns

Fulham v Ipswich Town @745pm - sitting within striking distance of the play-off places, this is kind of a best of the rest match as far as the Championship is concerned. Not consistent enough to be up with the main contenders, these two former Premier League teams are tough to separate in terms of quality so it could well be a draw

Bostik League North Division
Haringey Borough v Waltham Abbey @745pm - after great runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, Haringey have several games in hand on those above them which could easily put them in the top three if they won them. Waltham are one of those sides so a win is a must

Wednesday 3 January

Premier League
Arsenal v Chelsea @745pm - the biggest match of the entire festive period must be this one at the Emirates. Currently both in the top six, the two fought out a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in September and current form could well see another draw here

UPDATE (03/01/18): a friendly featuring Bermondsey Town and AFC Kumazi Strikers is being played at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre at 8pm. Although these teams play at a very low level, this is more about getting to see a game at a famous old venue that is most notable for hosting athletics. With the creation of the London Stadium over in Stratford, this place has lost out in a big way and has seen very much better days. Entrance is free and it seems to have generated a huge amount of interest amongst the groundhopper community so don't miss the opportunity if that's your kind of thing. Please note that because of the bad weather the game could get called off so follow the Bermondsey Town twitter feed for the latest

Thursday 4 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @8pm - the big derbies continue on Thursday with this match at Wembley. Although not quite as big as the game above, these two sets of fans really don't like each other and even though the Hammers are struggling they beat Spurs here in the EFL Cup two months ago

Saturday 6 January

FA Cup Third Round - the nation's premier knockout cup competition is down to its last 64 teams. Premier League and Championship sides have joined the draw at this stage and there are usually a lot of discounted tickets available to watch some of London's top clubs as a result. The winners of each tie receive £67,500 in prize money

Watford v Bristol City @3pm - the Hornets are the only local Premier League side in action in the cup on Saturday and they face very dangerous opponents. The Robins made headlines just before Christmas by sensationally beating Manchester United in the EFL Cup quarter-finals and are among the frontrunners  in the Championship. Given how poorly Watford have been doing recently, they could be very vulnerable indeed. Tickets are readily available to non-members and are only £10
Fulham v Southampton @3pm - you can also catch a top-flight side in action at Craven Cottage where the Saints travel up to from Hampshire. Tickets for this are £25 in advance, £30 on matchday

There are also ties at Brentford, Millwall and QPR but none of them are particularly exciting so stick with one of the two above unless you have a particular reason you want to visit one of these three

National League
Leyton Orient v Boreham Wood @3pm - the O's end the festive period with yet another derby against another tough opponent

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Hemel Hempstead Town @3pm - two of the top six at the time of writing but either could be top or well out of it by the time this kicks-off

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - two of the top six at the time of writing, both sides have a decent following so this should draw the biggest crowd of the day at this level

Essex Senior League
Waltham Forest v Clapton @3pm - after having had a two-week break, the ESL returns with this for me being the pick of the games. Regular readers will know that Forest are struggling financially and are trying to woo new fans and groundhoppers to Wadham Lodge in an attempt to fill up their coffers. The Clapton Ultras have openly supported this campaign and have gone to games in recent weeks while the boycott of their own home games has continued. Now that it's the turn of their team to play there, we should get to see them in full force with the hosts probably getting their biggest crowd of the season

Combined Counties League Division 1
Worcester Park v Sheerwater @2pm - at the time of writing these two are first and second in the table so it doesn't get much bigger than this

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
London Lions v Wodson Park @3pm - the hosts have made a very impressive return to life at this level and are currently up in third just one place behind their visitors

Sunday 7 January

FA Cup Third Round
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Wimbledon @3pm - a huge occasion for Dons fans as they travel back to Wembley, the site of their most famous victory - the FA Cup final of 1988. Their entire allocation of 7,700 tickets sold out in no time but there are still plenty more available in home areas of the ground if you want to go - prices start at just £10

Bostik League South Division
Cray Wanderers v Walton Casuals @3pm - two of the division's top clubs meet for what could be a very important game come the end of the season

FA Women's Super League 1
Chelsea v Arsenal @2pm - women's football makes its return from a short Christmas break with this big London derby at Kingsmeadow

UPDATE (03/01/18): an FA Youth Cup Third Round match is now also taking place on Sunday 7th with Watford U18's hosting their counterparts from Sunderland. The match takes place at Vicarage Road and kicks off at 2pm - tickets are available in advance

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!

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


  1. You have some amazing skills of writing and this was a good read for sure. Will be looking forward to reading more of these posts on your blog. Keep up the good work and good luck for it.

  2. Hi James!

    Is there any matches being played 28. January?

    Best regards

    Aasmund Klem

    1. Hi Aasmund - that weekend will see the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. It's the third round this weekend with the draw on Monday evening. Once that's been done then we'll have a better idea of what's taking place. Matches will be allocated for TV etc over the following couple of days, so we'll hopefully have a definite idea in about a week or so.

    2. Hi again! Thanks for the reply, i also wonder if its most likely will be possible to buy tickets at the stadium for The Millwall-game 27. January?

      Aasmund Klem

    3. Hi Aasmund - Millwall made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup so we won't know until 7pm tonight who they will be playing that day.

      It's very easy to get tickets for most of Millwall's home games but if they draw someone like Chelsea, Manchester United or West Ham then you might have a problem.

    4. Hi again James!

      Im travelling to london with my father 27th - 30th January, will be there be games from Saturday, Sunday and Monday?

      Thanks for all the help!!

    5. Hi - at the moment none of our local Premier League or EFL sides have confirmed their fixtures because of the FA Cup.

      Millwall will play Rochdale at some point over that weekend and Brentford will probably play Norwich but that's only if Norwich lose their FA Cup replay against Chelsea.

      If Chelsea win that then they will be playing Newcastle which would be a great one to get tickets for but we won't know if it's happening for another week.

      There are lots of non-league games that weekend too but I'm not sure if that's what you want to see.

      Sorry I can't give you any more information but we'll know a lot more in a week.

    6. Thanks! Also interested in non league! I will send you a message next week.


    7. Hi!

      Are there any non leagues games on Sunday og Monday?

  3. Hi james. Do you know where can i buy a cheap ticket for leyton v. Boreham ? Is it best in the box office before the game?

    You know how much suppose to cost ticket to one of the championship teams in the fa cup?

    1. Hi - tickets for Leyton Orient will be on sale at the stadium but the cheapest I know of are £18.

      It will therefore be cheaper in most cases to go and watch an FA Cup match. Aside from Fulham, most other clubs will be charging between £10-15 for a ticket so I would strongly advise you go to one of them. Tickets will be available at the stadium with none of them expected to sell out.


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