Monday 22 May 2023

TLFG: 22-29 May & 3 June 2023

So here we are - the end of another season.

The 2022/23 campaign has been TLFG's 12th and it's been a very different one for me.

For a whole host a reasons, not least the cost of living, my main focus over the last few months has been women's football and Actonians.

I won't bore you with all my thoughts on that again but it's been very refreshing and hugely rewarding.

The other highlights of my year were of course the amazing trip to Athletic Bilbao and all that's followed from it and another record beating Non-League Day which saw the event climb to new highs.

QPR had a very tough season, going from top spot in the Championship in October to scraping survival from relegation by the end.

There's a European final at Selhurst Park on Tuesday and tickets are available

The R's used three managers in the process and somehow delayed Burnley winning the title with a shock win at Turf Moor in the closing weeks to give them the platform to stay up.

This is my 40th year as a QPR fan but I didn't go to see a single first-team game despite living a five-minute walk from the stadium.

It was weird listening to the crowd on the days when I was around but in economic terms, I wasn't deriving enough utility from going to be able to justify the cost.

I also watched very little of Harrow Borough either.

My favourite non-league side also had a season to forget and ended up getting relegated.

Having stayed at this level for years, it was a sad time for the club but with crowds dwindling and costs rising, relegation was probably for the best.

Or so we thought...

Then last Monday happened.

I was taking my youngest daughter to a physio appointment at one of the big London hospitals and the FA non-league allocations came out just as we were about to be seen.

Thanks to incredibly poor phone reception within the building, I wasn't sure if I'd read it right or if there were any caveats, but out of nowhere, Harrow had received a reprieve from relegation!

There had been no warning or even suspicion that this was coming and my phone and social media began to light up with incredulous messages from Boro fans reacting to the news.

Sadly reprieves are only ever issued at someone else's expense and in this case it was Metropolitan Police who had voluntarily applied for relegation to the eighth tier over funding issues.

Back out in the open air after the appointment, I received confirmation from a number of sources that the reprieve was real and we would spend another year in the Southern League Premier South.

However, there was no reaction from the club themselves.

The club's website and social media had absolutely nothing about this amazing news.

As time went by, the silence continued and then nearly 36 hours later, the club came out and said they were considering appealing against the reprieve!

The messages and posts started going crazy again as fans contemplated the idea of their own board choosing relegation over survival.

Given that the reprieve had come completely out of the blue, the club's argument was that they had planned and budgeted for a completely different scenario and had hired a new and relatively inexperienced manager for the job.

After the euphoria of Monday, I found myself in a very different position heading into the weekend.

Things began to turn again when I received news from a well-placed source at a rival club who said the mood had changed and Harrow would be choosing to stay up.

Thankfully on Saturday night, this rumour was confirmed and Harrow Borough are once again members of the seventh tier.

They say you never miss something until you lose it and I'd kind of taken Boro's position at this level for granted so when the season did finish, I was very disappointed.

This reprieve feels like such a golden opportunity for the club to regroup and push on, let's hope the board and fans make the most of it.

With five new clubs in the division, I'm really looking forward to it.

One final highlight for me this season was seeing my name in print in the Non-League Finals Day programme on Sunday.

I was working so couldn't go but a friend sent me a picture of my appearance in Tony Incenzo's column - many thanks to him for the mention.

Yours truly gets a mention

So this is it for a few weeks.

Apart from the FA Cup Final, there's nothing of any note taking place in London after the Bank Holiday.

I've seen clubs looking to play pre-season games from as early as 1 July so if there's enough taking place that week then I'll try and get a piece up in five weeks time.

Finally, many thanks to long time TLFG reader Kelvin W from London who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund this week, it's hugely appreciated as are all the other contributions I've received from you lot this season.

My wife is very keen to stick as much of this blog as possible behind a Patreon paywall next season but I'm not sure I'd be happy with that or how I'd even make it work - so please keep donating to avoid that happening!


This week sees the final round of games in the Premier League and Women's Super League plus there's also the EFL play-off finals at Wembley. 

There are a couple of U21 finals too and some other miscellaneous fixtures to keep you ticking over.

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
Thursday fixtures - purple pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
FA Cup Final, 3 June - green pin

In the following section, I list 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 22 May

Professional Development League Final
Millwall v Sheffield United @7pm - there might not be a lot on this week but things get off to a good start with this third tier U21 game at The Den. Having finished top of the South and North groups of the league, these two then made it safely through the semi-finals. Tickets are £5

Tuesday 23 May

Premier League International Cup Final
Crystal Palace v PSV Eindhoven @7pm - there's an even more glamorous U21 final on Tuesday at Selhurst Park where this impressive Eagles side look to claim the silverware on home turf. To get this far, they've beaten Hertha Berlin, PSG, Braga, Liverpool and Valencia. Tickets are £5


Wednesday 24 May

ERWFL Premier
Haringey Borough v Colney Heath @745pm - the only match on Wednesday is this women's game in north London. The hosts have already confirmed a fifth-place finish ahead of this final match of the season. The visitors will climb out of the bottom two with a win here

Thursday 25 May

Suburban League
Uxbridge v Flackwell Heath @745pm - I've seen this U23 game described as both a cup final and a play-off game but I'm not sure which, either way there's a fair bit riding on it for those involved


Saturday 27 May

Championship Play-Off Final
Coventry City v Luton Town @445pm - dubbed 'the richest game in football' for the access it brings to the Premier League and its TV money, this is always one of the biggest matches of the season. Played at Wembley in front of a what is usually a sell-out crowd, it's often full of drama. When I started watching football in the '80s, both these sides were in the top division and both won cups at Wembley. However, neither have been in the top flight for a while now with Coventry getting relegated in 2001 and Luton back in 1992. Both had a terrible off-field problems with the Sky Blues driven out of their stadium for a while and the Hatters plummeting all the way down to non-league for a few seasons. Now they're back and with Luton finishing third in the regular season and seeing off Middlesbrough in the play-off semi-finals, they should start as favourites here. Tickets are available from the clubs but you will need a previous purchasing history to have any chance of getting one

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Aston Villa @230pm - the Gunners' defeat to Chelsea on Sunday saw their slim title hopes come to an end. Now it's all about making sure they claim the final Champions League place. Given their goal difference is 11 better than fourth placed Manchester City, who are three points behind, it will take something very dramatic to stop that happening. Villa have already secured fifth place but lost by three-goal margins in the two previous games against Arsenal this season. Tickets have sold out
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @230pm - there's a fine looking derby in Dagenham to finish the season. Only three points apart in eighth and ninth, the winner will finish above the other as Spurs have better goal difference. The Hammers could even rise to seventh if they win handsomely here and Liverpool get well beaten by Manchester United in their game. Tickets

HSCL Premier
Belstone v Ware Sports @3pm - for hardcore groundhoppers and non-league fans, there is still an 11th-tier option within the M25 on Saturday. With games in hand, one of which is in midweek, the hosts still have a chance of winning the title and the visitors can also make it into the top three

Sunday 28 May

Premier League
Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers @430pm - with Manchester City having already clinched the title, the Gunners and Wolves have little to play for here. With runners-up spot and a place in the Champions League already secured, it's not going to get any better for Mikel Arteta's side. When Arsenal had been well clear at the top earlier in the season, tickets for this game were going for thousands of pounds but the atmosphere could be rather flat after seeing them blow their title chance. Tickets have officially sold out but I'm sure a few will be floating about on forums
Brentford v Manchester City @430pm - the Bees won at Spurs on Saturday to give themselves a chance of finishing seventh which would be a remarkable achievement. To do that, they simply have to beat the newly crowned league champions. That might sound like a formidable task but they did just that in November when they won the reverse fixture at the Etihad 2-1. Tickets are not available
Chelsea v Newcastle United @430pm - the Blues have had an absolute stinker of a season. Down in 12th, their defeat at Manchester City on Sunday means they will finish in the bottom half. If things go really badly in the final week, they could finish as low as 14th despite reportedly spending around £500m on new players this season. The Magpies are in no position to go easy of them either as they are locked in a very tight battle for a Champions League place with Liverpool and Manchester United. Tickets are available to season-ticket holders, members and their guests
Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest @430pm - the Eagles will complete their season against Forest in what should be a stroll for both teams. Roy Hodgson's side have been safe for several weeks whilst the club from the East Midlands secured their place in the top flight with a hugely important win over Arsenal on Saturday. Steve Cooper's side have done well to avoid the drop and there should be a party mood in the air on Sunday. Tickets have sold out

League Two Play-Off Final
Carlisle United v Stockport County @130pm - back at Wembley, these two sides will do battle for a place in the third tier. Carlisle finished just behind Stockport in the final League Two table, in part down to the fact that County took four points off them during the season. The Cheshire club also came into the play-offs in marginally better form so they're the slight favourites for me. Tickets will be going on general sale at both clubs on Monday and Tuesday respectively so see their websites for details


Monday 29 May

League One Play-Off Final
Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - the EFL's play-off weekend comes to an end with this Yorkshire derby at Wembley. The Tykes edged past Bolton by 2-1 in the semi-finals whilst Wednesday took part in arguably the most dramatic game of the season against Peterborough on Thursday. Trailing 4-0 after the first leg, Darren Moore's side grabbed an injury-time equaliser to make it 4-4 and force extra-time. Posh then scored to go back in front only for Wednesday to equalise again to take the match to penalties which they won. It's hard to know how such a match will affect Wednesday's players but their resilience shouldn't be doubted going into this one. Tickets will be available from both clubs but given the size of their support, it's unlikely many will make it to general sale 

A bit further afield
International Surrey Football v Bangladeshi Select XI @145pm - after hosting Matabeleland on Saturday, ISF return to Dorking Wanderers' Meadowbank Stadium for another friendly. Situated just to south of London in the picturesque Surrey Hills, you can get here from central London by train in less than an hour. Tickets are £5

Saturday 3 June

FA Cup Final
Manchester City v Manchester United @3pm - it's great to see the FA Cup Final restored to 3pm on a Saturday afternoon with nothing going up against it. It's a bit weird that it's in June but you can't have everything. Given the dominance of these clubs in English football over recent years and having been to the final 31 times between them, it might surprise you to know that these two have never met at this stage before. It's also been four years since City last won and seven years for United. Although Pep Guardiola's side have already won the league and start as favourites, United beat them 2-1 when they last played in January. Tickets are not available

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.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


  1. Hey James, you basically saved the day. I was trying everything to get me and my son to the Arsenal v Wolves match but I could not justify the costs. My wife and 2 daughters wanted to join us but once we saw the price I knew it was a no go.

    Because of you and because of your service here I was able to find a match and what promises to be an exciting match that we can afford. So now the whole family will be able to enjoy UK footie and I won't need to sell off my spleen in a back alley down the street from Emirates.

    In short, thank you very much indeed!! Keith

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