Sunday, 8 July 2018

TLFG: 9-15 July 2018

Week two of pre-season proper has arrived and things have picked up considerably with a whopping 60 more games than last week.

The past seven days saw England's fantastic progress in the World Cup wreak havoc back home with all of Saturday's friendlies re-timed, rescheduled or cancelled completely.

Wednesday night's semi-final against Croatia has also put paid to a number of games but far fewer were on. Whether this Saturday's extensive range of fixtures will also have to be changed if the Three Lions find themselves in the Third Place Play-Off (the world's most unpopular game) remains to be seen but I'd like to think it's unlikely.

So did you make it to your first game of the new season? I know some of you did - thanks to Paul B for your picture from Dartford v Millwall.

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What are your plans for the week ahead?

I briefly flirted with the idea, like many others, of heading out to Russia as I just so happen to be off from Friday to Monday. However, I couldn't find anything available for Moscow and although £750 for three nights in St Petersburg isn't outrageous I don't think it's really that sensible. Are any of you going or sorely tempted?

If I do get to a game it's likely to be the London derby between AFC Wimbledon and QPR on Saturday but we'll have to wait and see.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery will take charge of his new team for the first time on Saturday

The other big event in London that day will see Unai Emery take charge of Arsenal for the first time as he takes a development side to Meadow Park to play National League Boreham Wood.

There's probably a load more I could write at this stage but I'm back on early shifts for the first time in many weeks and need to be up at 345am so I think I'll leave at this.

Here's to a great week and who knows, by the time I publish next week's piece England could be WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Hold onto your hats and good luck everybody!!!

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 90 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 a couple of 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.

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




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 July

Friendly
Haringey Borough v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - get your week underway with a trip down White Hart Lane to see two sides who enjoyed promotion last season. Haringey won the Bostik North play-offs while Dulwich did the same in the Bostik Premier - in other words the Hamlet play one division above their hosts
Aveley v Dartford @745pm - although two divisions separate these clubs, this is very much a local derby with the sides located either side of the QEII Bridge in Essex and Kent respectively

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Tuesday 10 July

Friendly
Bromley v Gillingham @745pm - the top game in the London area on Tuesday is this Kent derby at Hayes Lane. The Gills play in League One and usually spend most of pre-season touring their home county. The Ravens made it to the FA Trophy final last season and came close to a place in the play-offs so will no doubt want to push on

A bit further afield
Braintree Town v Colchester United @745pm - an hour's train ride from Liverpool Street will deposit you in the Essex town of Braintree. They won the National League South play-offs last season to move up to the fifth tier. On Tuesday they welcome county rivals Colchester from League Two
St Albans City v Stevenage @745pm - after getting thumped by Northampton on Saturday, St Albans welcome another side from League Two. On this occasion their opponents also hail from Hertfordshire so, like the game above, this is a county derby
Woking v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - talking of county derbies, there's an all Surrey affair at Kingfield where the Cards take on the Dons from League One
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Wednesday 11 July

Friendly

Carshalton Athletic v Charlton Athletic XI @4pm - there were several friendlies scheduled for Wednesday night but England's progress in the World Cup has seen all but one of them cancelled or moved to another date. Rather than lose the chance to host a side from the League One Addicks, Carshalton have managed to move the game to 4pm so you can watch this and then watch the big match in the Robins' clubhouse

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Thursday 12 July

Friendly
Aveley v Southend United XI @745pm - after starting the week with a cross-Thames derby, Aveley finish it with an Essex derby. The Shrimpers sent a side to Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday and could only manage a draw so the Millers should fancy their chances
Hendon v Edgware Town @730pm - there's nothing particularly glamorous about this game but the two sides groundshare so there are bragging rights to play for

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Friday 13 July

Friendly
Staines Town v Queens Park Rangers @745pm - the Swans, having been recently moved to the Southern League, entertain Championship opposition on Friday night. At the moment, this is listed as a first-team game on the QPR website but given they also have a match on Saturday there could well be some squad rotation, including the use of a few youngsters
Dagenham & Redbridge v West Ham United XI @730pm - the Daggers have found themselves struggling for cash in recent months and it was great to see the Hammers send an almost full-strength team down to Victoria Road in March for a fundraiser. The two east London clubs will do battle again on Friday although the Premier League side are likely to field a much weaker line-up

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Saturday 14 July

Friendly
AFC Wimbledon v Queens Park Rangers @3pm - the game of the week should be this London derby between the Dons of League One and QPR of the Championship. Neal Ardley's side managed a 0-0 draw against Reading on Saturday whilst Rangers could only manage a 3-3 draw against Charlton. Although it probably won't sell out, Kingsmeadow is relatively small and the club's beer festival is taking place so I suggest buying a ticket in advance to make absolutely sure you get in
Boreham Wood v Arsenal XI @3pm - although most of the Gunners' stars are still at the World Cup or recovering from it, the north London giants have confirmed that new boss Unai Emery will take charge of a game for the first time. Tickets are on sale online from the National League club so book now to be part of this historic moment
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Oxford United @4pm - the Beavers welcome League One Oxford for a late afternoon kick-off. It's starting at this time because the U's are playing local rivals Oxford City in another game at 1230pm (the details are also on the map) so I hope there's no traffic on the motorway on the way down!
Welling United v Charlton Athletic @1230pm - having seen this match re-arranged a couple of times already, the Wings finally get to welcome fellow south-east Londoners Charlton for their annual pre-season game
Northwood v Chelsea XI @3pm - eighth tier Bostik League club Northwood have landed a big game against a development side from the Blues. The match is being held in memory of club stalwart Pete Barry who passed away in 2016

A bit further afield
Fulham v Reading @130pm - now back in the Premier League, the Cottagers began their preparations with a 4-2 win over Crawley Town in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday. Next up they entertain Championship side Reading at Aldershot Town's ground. Adult tickets will be available on the gate and are £10
Wycombe Wanderers v West Ham United @3pm - you should also be able to catch a glimpse of a few Premier League faces at Adams Park where the newly promoted Chairboys play host to Manuel Pellegrini's Hammers in what is listed as a first-team game on the London club's website
Swindon Town v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - less than an hour's train ride from Paddington, a trip to Wiltshire shouldn't be ruled out. League Two Swindon have lined up an a decent looking friendly with the Baggies who dropped out of the Premier League last season
Stevenage v Portsmouth @3pm - just to the north of the capital, League Two Stevenage entertain 2008 FA Cup winners Pompey who now reside in League One
Braintree Town v Ipswich Town @3pm - the Iron continue their attractive pre-season schedule with a match against Championship opposition. Hailing from just across the county border in Suffolk, the Tractor Boys are getting ready for their first season under new manager Paul Hurst
Chelmsford City v Cambridge United @3pm - the Clarets were one of several teams to have fought hard but come up short in an incredibly tight National League South promotion race last season. On Saturday they take on Cambridge who have promoted assistant manager Joe Dunne into the hot seat for the start of the new campaign
Oxford City v Oxford United @1230pm - as mentioned above, it's the Oxford derby on Saturday. Although both hailing from the same city, there's never been much of a rivalry as the two have always been a long way apart in the pyramid. As it stands, three divisions separate the two but the match usually draws a decent crowd so should be worth a watch, especially if you're thinking about combining it with a more general visit to this place of great history and learning


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.

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