Monday 1 August 2022

TLFG: 1-7 August 2022

Well, well, well.

After my piece last week about now much preferring the match day experience at women's games, I went with my daughter and several friends to Wembley for the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final between England and Germany.

What a day it was and in stark contrast to the men's final their last year.

The journey to the ground was smooth - although the train from Baker Street was busy, it was calm and populated by people full of hope and expectation rather than drink, drugs and bitter rivalry.

I knew things were going to be different when I approached BOXPARK and it was joyously pumping out S Club 7 tunes while fans whooped and cheered inside.

England fans celebrate success at Wembley

Getting there early, we breezed through the turnstiles and were greeted by rows of friendly servers at the kiosks selling food and drink.

Unsegregated fans from all over Europe were proudly sporting their colours and smiling at each other on the concourse as kick-off approached.

Seeing my daughter without face paint, another gave her theirs - much to her delight.

Once in our seats, the atmosphere just grew and grew. With Status Quo blasting on the sound system, it was the biggest party atmosphere I'd ever experienced at football and the match hadn't even started.

The game ebbed and flowed and there was some real tension but the celebrations at full time after the 2-1 win were next level.

With most Women's Super League clubs playing their matches at the men's stadiums throughout September - I heartily encourage you to get involved.

I'm off to Turkey in a couple of days so I will try and get a piece out while I'm there but it could be delayed or pretty minimal.

Have a great week and enjoy your football - it's come home afterall!


The highlights of the next few days include the first round of games in the Premier League and National League and the opening round of the FA Cup. There are also several EFL games and lots of non-league and women's games too.

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 - turquoise 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 1 August

Watford v Sheffield United @8pm - the week gets underway with a pretty big game in the second tier where two recent members of the Premier League play their opening match. The Hornets, like Fulham and Norwich, have become a yo-yo club and are fancied to once again be among the frontrunners. The Blades made the play-offs last season but fell short in their efforts to make an instant return to the top flight. In the head-to-head, Watford are unbeaten in five against the Yorkshire club. Tickets

Tuesday 2 August

SSML Premier Division
Cockfosters v London Colney @745pm - unusually, the SSML season kicks-off on a Tuesday night. After a lot of restructuring over the summer, the hosts are now the only club within the M25 who are playing in it. As a result, this match against London Colney is about as close as they'll get to a derby in a league game this season. The visitors should've been relegated last season but got a reprieve


Wednesday 3 August

CCL Premier South
Colliers Wood United v Balham @730pm - there's a staggered start in the CCL with a handful of teams beginning their campaign in midweek. Over at Wibbandune there's a match between CWU and their former tenants Balham. Last season it was the visitors who had the better campaign, so it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that

Women's friendly
Hashtag United v West Ham United @745pm - after playing at Canvey Island's ground for a couple of years, Hashtag Women will be spending this season at Aveley's ground. Last season they finished runners-up to Billericay Town in the women's fourth tier and will start as one of the favourites this time. On Wednesday they face the huge challenge of playing WSL side West Ham who thrashed Billericay 5-1 last weekend and Enfield Town 11-2 on Wednesday


Friday 5 August

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Arsenal @8pm - the new Premier League season gets underway with this opener at Selhurst Park. With two defeats from their nine pre-season games, the Eagles come into this match in pretty good shape. The Gunners ended last season just behind arch-rivals Spurs, to miss out on a Champions League place. Over the summer they've made a number of decent signings and won all five of their friendlies, most recently crushing Sevilla and Chelsea 6-0 and 4-0 respectively. In 2021/22, Palace took four points off Arsenal and beat them 3-0 when they last played in April. Tickets are only available to members

Premier League 2
Fulham v West Ham United @3pm - earlier in the day there's an U21 game at the Cottagers' training ground in Motspur Park. Check with the club on the day for all the final details and whether or not the public will be admitted. UPDATE - admission is going to be very strictly limited to season-ticket holders who pre-register with the club in advance


Saturday 6 August

Premier League
Fulham v Liverpool @1230pm - after winning the Championship, the Cottagers make their return to the Premier League with one of the toughest fixtures they could've got. However, the last time they were in the top division in 2020/21, Fulham won at Anfield and drew with the Reds at home. Several pundits have expressed a feeling that Liverpool will struggle to replicate their high standards of recent years so maybe this is a good time to get them. Tickets are only available to members
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @3pm - after a fine season under Antonio Conte, Spurs are fancied to do well with a number of bookies offering odds of 12-1 on them winning the title. A number of high-profile signings has boosted confidence in the north-London club but they must avoid complacency here as the Saints were a bit of a bogey team for them last year. Tickets are only available to members.  

QPR v Middlesbrough @3pm - after losing their opening game at Blackburn on Saturday, the best thing for R's supporters this weekend was seeing QPR fan and former player Chloe Kelly score the winning goal for England in the Euro final against Germany. Hopefully, she'll be the guest of honour at this game and give them some inspiration against Boro who are among the favourites for promotion. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Derby County @3pm - the Addicks started with a 2-2 draw at Accrington where youngster Miles Leaburn scored a late goal. The son of Carl Leaburn, I saw him play against QPR in an U23 game back in the spring and thought he looked decent so keep an eye on him as the season progresses. Derby began life in the third tier with a satisfactory 1-0 win over Oxford and should start as favourites here. Tickets

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Manchester United @1pm - there's a rather random but high quality U21 game sandwiched into Saturday's schedule, but at a time where you can't really get to go to anything else afterwards. The match is at Boreham Wood's ground where it's often free to get in but check with Arsenal nearer the time for the latest information

National League
Barnet v FC Halifax Town @3pm - the Bees get their season underway with a tough game against a side who made last season's play-offs. Dean Brennan's side comfortably avoided relegation last season but were much closer to the bottom three than top so he'll want to see some significant improvement this year
Dagenham & Redbridge v Gateshead @3pm - after drawing 1-1 with West Ham's U23 team on Saturday, the Daggers welcome the newly promoted Heed to Victoria Road. After a strong finish, the hosts missed a play-off place by one point last season and will hope for a top-seven finish this time
Wealdstone v Bromley @3pm - with one of the smallest budgets in the division, it's going to be all about survival for the Stones this season. After suffering some disappointing defeats in pre-season, most fans are realistic about this being a tough campaign. However, they survived very comfortably last time out so why not this time too? Bromley saw their play-off challenge dip in the closing weeks of the season as their focus seemed to shift to the FA Trophy which they ultimately won at Wembley

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Braintree Town @3pm - at one point it looked like the Hamlet would grab a place in the top seven but their form left them at the wrong moment and they finished 10th. With huge crowds of 2,000-3,000 attending their home games, expectation levels are often high. Braintree struggled a lot last season but pulled clear of the danger zone at the right time

Southern League Premier Division South
Hanwell Town v Truro City @3pm - the Geordies won a dramatic play-off final in the Isthmian League South Central to move up to the seventh tier for the first time in years, possibly ever. The powers that be decided to move them across to the Southern League where the travel distances are significant - exemplified by this fixture featuring a Cornish side. Often one of the strongest teams in this league, Truro should present a tough introduction to life at this level
Metropolitan Police v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - possibly the game of the day at this level sees two of last season's top four meet at Imber Court. H&YU were top for a large part of 2021/22 but slipped away to finish second before losing an acrimonious play-off final to Farnborough. They've made some good summer signings and are expected to do well again

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Everyone's favourite cup competition gets underway on Saturday with clubs from the eighth tier and below looking to begin an historic and potentially lucrative run. The winners of each tie get £1,125 and the losers £375

Abbey Rangers v Hanworth Villa @3pm - the visitors romped to the CCL North title last season to move up to the Isthmian League. Abbey Rangers also had a decent season, finishing fourth. They'll no doubt be looking to get one over the league champions when they welcome them to Addlestone Moor
Buckhurst Hill v Walthamstow @3pm - the hosts began life in the Essex Senior League with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Romford. In this eye-catching tie, they welcome last season's ESL winners to Roding Lane 
Cobham v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - the Hammers had an unremarkable campaign in the CCL South last year but so did the Terrors in the division above. On paper, the south London club should win but they've lost to ninth-tier opposition for the last two years so are definitely vulnerable
Fisher v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - one of the sides who beat Tooting were the Fish of the SCEFL Premier. On Saturday they welcome another Isthmian League club who also struggled last season, so there's some decent cupset potential here too
Glebe v Holmesdale @3pm - there's a decent looking south-east London derby to look forward to in Chislehurst where two SCEFL teams do battle. Glebe managed a top-three finish last season so should be expected to win here
Raynes Park Vale v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - this all-ninth tier clash stands out for me too. RPV did well in the friendly against QPR U23 I attended a few weeks ago and they are a club who are looking to make progress this season. The Deres are usually there or thereabouts in the SCEFL and should give them a good game


Sunday 7 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester City @430pm - the football week ends with a visit from the league champions to east London. The Hammers drew this fixture 2-2 towards the end of last season and also knocked them out of the EFL Cup so this isn't the happiest ground for Pep Guardiola's side. Tickets have sold out but you might be able to get some on resale

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Edgware & Kingsbury v Hoddesdon Town @3pm - if you didn't know, Edgware Town became Edgware & Kingsbury over the summer - in recognition of the fact that the club plays a lot closer to Kingsbury than Edgware and they use the now defunct Kingsbury Town's old ground. Since reforming in 2016, they've only made it beyond this round twice. Hoddesdon, from the SSML Premier, are of a very similar standard so it should be close
Stansfeld v Wembley @3pm - I say it every year so I'll say it again, if you want to follow a 'Road to Wembley' in the FA Cup then why not start it with the club of the same name? They face a tricky trip to Chislehurst to play Stansfeld who won the SCEFL Division 1 title last season 

Women's friendlies
Dulwich Hamlet v Oxford City @2pm - like the men's team, the Hamlet's women get crowds way bigger than the level they play at. Given what happened at Wembley on Sunday, I'd hope to see a bumper crowd at Champion Hill for this one
Fulham v London City Lionesses @230pm - after beating local rivals QPR last weekend, the Cottagers welcome a side from Championship club LCL for what should be a far tougher fixture
Clapton CFC v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - not been to visit the oldest ground in London yet? Then get yourself along to the Old Spotted Dog as the Tons welcome some fourth-tier opposition

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 comment:

  1. Looking forward to next weeks blog! I'm a huge PL fan and was hoping to see one of the teams play but alas am arriving on Sunday night (Aug 7) and leaving on Saturday afternoon (Aug 13) so will unfortunately miss all PL games in London that week. Any chance of a preview of the next best matches between those dates?