Monday, 26 July 2021

TLFG: 26 July - 1 August 2021

Greetings TLFG readers, I hope you're all well and haven't suffered too much with the extreme weather that we've experienced this week.

Be it the high temperatures at the beginning of the week or the torrential rain that's flooded several London neighbourhoods this evening.

Have you managed to get a game or two?

I made it up to Earlsmead for Harrow Borough's pre-season game against QPR U23s.

Lead by former Boro player Albert Adomah, the Ghana international was given a warm welcome and a guard of honour on his return to the north-west London club where he began his career.

He put in a ceremonial 20-minute performance before being subbed off to applause from around the ground.

That was pretty much the highlight of the evening for Harrow fans, as the R's youngsters took total control and won 4-0 in front of a healthy crowd.

For me, it was good to catch up with some long-time readers of this blog and meet some others for the first time.

Putting this week's blog together has been another struggle as Covid has caused several fixtures to be cancelled or re-arranged at very short notice - please forgive any mistakes or errors.

Tomorrow I head up to Lancashire for a week's holiday with the family - annoyingly the weather looks like the poorest it's been for a long time so we'll probably be looking for some beach alternatives.

There's a really good selection of friendlies in the region over the next few days but I'm unlikely to get a pass out to watch them.

However, the North West Counties League season begins on Saturday and I will hopefully get to see one of those matches.


 THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include numerous friendlies which feature a handful of Premier League and EFL teams and lots of non-league ones too, including the opening competitive match in several local leagues.

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 - turquoise 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 26 July

Friendly
Hendon v Hampton & Richmond Borough @745pm - the pick of Monday night's action sees Gary McCann return to his former club with the Beavers

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Tuesday 27 July

Friendlies
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic @6pm - the action kicks off early at Selhurst Park as these two local rivals meet for a bit of friendly fun. Tickets are not on general sale
Bromley v Arsenal U23 @745pm - the Ravens thrashed Ebbsfleet 4-0 at the weekend and next face a young Gunners side. Tickets are £15 and must be bought in advance
Dartford v Sutton United @730pm - having beaten AFC Wimbledon 1-0 on Saturday, the Darts will feel confident ahead of this meeting against League Two Sutton. Tickets are £10

A bit further afield
Stevenage v Watford @745pm - there are a number of decent friendlies just beyond London's borders on Tuesday but for a sniff of Premier League quality you should head to Stevenage for this Hertfordshire derby. Tickets are £20
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Wednesday 28 July

Friendly
West Essex v Sporting Hackney @745pm - to my knowledge this is the only game on in London today. The hosts are about to begin their first season as tenants at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow and they welcome some fellow east Londoners for this one

A bit further afield
MK Dons v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - about 50 miles north of London, just off the M1 you'll find this decent looking friendly between one of the League One Dons and Premier League big boys Spurs. Tickets are available from £20
Wycombe Wanderers v Leicester City @730pm - the Chairboys won a lot of admirers for their plucky approach to life in the Championship but ultimately they got relegated. Arguably the highlight of their pre-season is this match against last season's FA Cup winners Leicester. The ground is small and tickets priced at £20 are selling well so buy in advance if you want to go

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Thursday 29 July

Friendly
VCD Athletic v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - there are three games to choose from on Thursday and this game between a couple of south-east London clubs is probably the best in my humble opinion

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Friday 30 July

Friendlies
Hendon v Arsenal XI @730pm - with the Greens branding this match 'The Real North London Derby' how can you not spend your Friday night in NW9? Tickets are £7 and can be bought online

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Saturday 31 July

Friendlies
Brentford v West Ham United @3pm - the Bees, one of the Premier League's newest teams, come into this derby on the back of a midweek game at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Sadly unless you're a member, you're going to find tickets for any Brentford games very hard to get this season
Watford v Barnsley @4pm - the Hornets were held to a 0-0 draw by West Brom at Vicarage Road on Saturday and they will face further Championship opposition in the Tykes on Saturday. Tickets are £10
QPR v Leicester City @3pm - the R's created one of the stories of the day on Saturday by coming from behind to beat Manchester United 4-2 at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. They face a trip to League One side Cambridge on Tuesday before entertaining the Foxes. Tickets are £15

A bit further afield
Reading v Crystal Palace @3pm - the Royals welcome more Premier League opposition from London and tickets are £10
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Sunday 1 August

Friendly
Arsenal v Chelsea @3pm - the biggest match of the week and of pre-season so far is the opening fixture in The Mind Series. This new blockbuster triangular competition, also featuring Spurs, will raise funds for the mental health charity it's named after. Being played at The Emirates, tickets are not going on general sale


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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