Sunday 22 July 2018

TLFG: 23-29 July 2018

We're into the final full week of July already which means there's now less than two weeks until the season gets underway for all our local EFL and National League clubs.

Consequently things are getting really busy in and around the capital with clubs at these levels hosting their biggest showpiece friendlies to try and get their fans re-engaged after the summer break - not that there's really been one.

Aside from Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham who are all overseas, most of our local pro clubs are all in action in and around the capital this week.

Where have your football travels taken you over the last few days?

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QPR welcome cult German club Union Berlin to Loftus Road on Saturday
After the thrills of Kingsmeadow last Saturday, I haven't been able to get to a game since but hope to head somewhere on Tuesday.

Apart from the emergence of some Premier League sides this week, there will also be several visitors from Europe and the number will increase even more the week after as some pretty big names arrive on these shores.

For me this week has been all about getting this blog together, going through the Southern League fixtures to see who Harrow Borough will be playing and when (Weymouth at home on the opening day - tough one) and loading all the Steps 1-3 fixtures onto the Non-League Day match map ahead of this year's event on 13 October.

Aside from that, I don't have a huge amount to add at this stage so will leave it at that as work beckons once again.

Have a great week and please keep me updated on what you've been up to and let me know if you have any questions

There are over 100 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days as the pre-season period starts to really get going. The highlights include a few decent friendlies featuring some Premier League sides and several from the EFL.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. 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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black 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.

Monday 23 July

Enfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur U23 @730pm - after successfully hosting a number of games during the CONIFA World Football Cup in late May and early June, live match action returns to the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium with this attractive friendly against the Towners' Premier League neighbours. Although only an U23 side, this should still be well worth a watch - tickets are £10 adults and £1 U16s


Tuesday 24 July

Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion @745pm - unbeaten in five pre-season away games, the Addicks play their first match back at The Valley and have landed a plum fixture against Premier League opposition. The Seagulls lost 2-1 at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and will hope for a better outcome against another side from League One
Corinthian Casuals v Bristol Rovers @745pm - for the second season running Casuals welcome a squad from Rovers. Listed on the League One's side as a first-team game, they should bring a pretty strong side

A bit further afield
Oxford United v Leeds United @745pm - about an hour's journey north-west of the capital you'll come to the historic university town of Oxford. On Tuesday, the U's welcome Leeds for another eye-catching pre-season game

Wednesday 25 July


Dagenham & Redbridge v Cambridge United @730pm - the Daggers have enjoyed a decent pre-season so far with a win over a West Ham XI and a draw against Colchester being the highlights. They have a chance to impress against another League Two opponent here

A bit further afield
Luton Town v Norwich City @745pm - a lot of overseas readers of this blog seem to share an ambition to visit Kenilworth Road. It's old school, it's unusual and is a gritty place to watch football, nestled among terraced houses. On Wednesday you too can fulfil that ambition by going to see the Hatters entertain the Canaries in a game that wouldn't have looked out of place on 'Match of The Day' back in the '80s


Thursday 26 July

Wingate & Finchley v St Albans City @745pm - the hosts welcome National League South opposition from just beyond the M25 border to the north. Wingate play in the seventh tier, punching well above their weight and will hope to be competitive again this time around
Beckenham Town v Milllwall XI @7pm - the highlight of the Becks' pre-season is this friendly against a development squad one of their local EFL sides
Barking v West Essex @745pm - not a huge match in the grand scheme of things but a groundshare derby nonetheless
Greenwich Borough v Cray Valley PM @745pm - ditto this game which is also between groundsharers

Friday 27 July

Erith Town v Greenwich Borough @745pm - the Dockers seem to be making a habit of cornering the market in Friday night friendlies and why not? It gives them a great chance to showcase the facilities at the Erith Stadium following their return to the town

A bit further afield
MK Dons v Ipswich Town @745pm - possibly the most controversial team in English football have had a tough couple of years and now find themselves down in League Two playing at a lower level than AFC Wimbledon for the first time since their creation. They inhabit the very well appointed Stadium MK which was actually part of England's World Cup bid the last time we went for it. Most of it's 30,500 capacity will remain unused this season. On Friday they welcome the Tractor Boys who, as ever, will be pushing to get back into the Premier League
Maidenhead United v Wycombe Wanderers @745pm - York Road, located just to the west of London, is well worth a visit as it is recognised by Fifa as being the 'oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club' - Maidenhead have been there since 1871. Apart from that, the club are friendly, well run and forward thinking and have done really well to make it into the fifth tier and hold their own. This match against League One Wycombe is pretty much a derby too so give it a go


Saturday 28 July

Brentford v Watford @3pm - this is marginally the game of the day as it's a derby and features a Premier League team. The Bees came close to a play-off place last season and will want to at least match that again this time. With their new stadium under construction, this is set to be the last full season Brentford will spend at Griffin Park so get your visit in soon if you haven't yet been
Queens Park Rangers v Union Berlin @230pm - over in Shepherd's Bush, QPR welcome European opposition in the form of German second tier club Union. Having played each other in Berlin last summer and traded a couple of players recently, there seems to be a growing link between these two similar sized outfits. A cult club in their homeland, they are likely to bring some lively and possibly sizeable support - tickets are £10 adults
Millwall v VFL Bochum @1pm - there's a very similar fixture taking place in Bermondsey where Championship side Millwall also welcome a side from the German second tier for Jimmy Abdou's testimonial
Charlton Athletic v Norwich City @3pm - at The Valley we've got a League One versus Championship clash - it's not likely to produce the sights or sounds of the game above but should be worth a watch if you're in the area
Boreham Wood v AFC Wimbledon @3pm - the Wood always seem to line-up an entertaining pre-season programme and their final Saturday warm-up match gives them the chance to play an opponent from League One
Leyton Orient v Southend United @3pm - it's the same at Brisbane Road for the O's where they also welcome some third-tier opposition who make the short journey from the Essex seaside

A bit further afield
Derby County v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - although Derby is some way north of London, it takes less than 90 minutes to get to by train from St Pancras and the stadium is close to the station. With new boss Frank Lampard spending quite a bit of time in Russia as a World Cup pundit, I thought the Rams' preparations might be suffering but not a bit of it as they comfortably beat a strong Southampton side 3-0 on Saturday. Next at Pride Park are Premier League new boys Wolves in a battle for Midlands bragging rights
Ipswich Town v West Ham United @3pm - another very easy one to visit by train, Portman Road hosts what could effectively be described as a derby with the biggest side in Suffolk taking on pretty much the flagship club of Essex where legions of its fans live. The trains up from Liverpool Street will no doubt be busy so if you are planning on travelling this way, it might be worth buying in advance
Reading v Crystal Palace @3pm - the Royals also welcome Premier League visitors. Although Reading is less than 30 minutes from Paddington by train, the Madejski Stadium is way out on the outskirts of town near the M4 and is easier to drive to. Saying that, a shuttle bus usually runs from the station
Portsmouth v FC Utrecht @1pm - fancy a trip to the seaside? Then you could combine it with a trip to Fratton Park where Pompey have landed a game against top Dutch side Utrecht. Jean-Paul de Jong's side finished fifth in the Eredivisie last season and narrowly missed out on a place in the Europa League so they should prove to be a stern test for Kenny Jackett's charges
Crawley Town v KSV Roseleare @3pm - there are some more European visitors in Sussex but this time from Belgium. Playing in the country's second tier, they are managed by Jordi Condom who hails from Palamos in Catalonia. He played for and managed the local club for many years so must be a bit of a legend in those parts


Sunday 29 July

West Essex v Clapton CFC @1pm - there's an east London derby to be enjoyed at the London Marathon Community Stadium right next to West Ham's ground. This will be one of the first ever games featuring the new side formed by Clapton's supporters following their fallout with the people running the famous old club in Forest Gate. Entry is £5 adults and free for U16s
Football Scuola v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - this match features an academy side and the Deres. We believe this is taking place at Sporting Club Thamesmead but double check everything before you travel in case we've got it wrong or things change

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.

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