Tuesday 28 May 2024

TLFG: 29 May - 9 June 2024

After a few days holidaying with my family in Gothenburg, TLFG is back for one last time this season but given the lack of matches, this will temporarily become more of a travel blog.

Our trip was fun and I was very impressed with Sweden's second biggest city.

The weather was warm throughout our stay but fluctuated between warm sunshine and thunderstorms which kept things interesting.

We enjoyed a trip to Liseberg theme park, named Europe's best, the Universeum (a cross between a zoo, aquarium, science museum and art gallery), went on a Paddan boat tour and had a day of sport on Saturday.

It began with me trying out a local parkrun which took me through woodland, past a beach and round a lake - one of the most beautiful courses of the 61 different ones I've run since 2012.

After a good chat with one of the regulars, I headed back to town for a quick breakfast and freshen up before grabbing my eldest daughter and getting on the tram and heading over the river for some football.

My daughter meets BK Hacken striker Felicia Schroder

A short ride took us to the Bravida Arena to watch the game of the day in the Swedish women's league between BK Hacken, in third, and leaders Hammarby who had travelled from Stockholm.

Having passed swiftly through security and got my daughter's face painted in the black and yellow of the hosts, we bought our refreshments (which cost nearly double a child ticket) and picked a seat in the main stand.

It was gloriously sunny throughout so we picked a spot in the shade and cracked open our drinks.

Being a women's match, the mood was much more relaxed than it would be for the equivalent men's game but both sides had a group of ultras behind each goal who generated a good atmosphere.

The first half was a cagey affair which Hammarby, inspired at times by former Chelsea player Jonna Andersson, probably shaded.

Things changed after the break though, as two swift goals early in the second half put Hacken in charge - the first a delightful free-kick which gave the keeper little chance.

With four of the current Sweden squad among their ranks, the hosts saw out the game to record an important win and move up to second.

We hung around after the game and my daughter was lucky enough to high-five some of the players before getting a photo with Felicia Schroder who scored the second.

Tickets, refreshments and travel probably came in at a little over £20 for the pair of us so it was a great value afternoon out.

Overall, I'd thoroughly recommend a visit.

Despite spending four nights in Gothenburg, we barely scratched the surface of what you can see and do.

We stayed in the Scandic Goteborg Central which is only a couple of years old and very modern - our family room (U12s stay free and get free breakfast) was on the top floor with great views over the river and was very reasonably priced.

Pretty much everyone we met was friendly, helpful and spoke excellent English and I felt very comfortable there - it's a city I could happily move to.

The only drawback, as with most Nordic countries, is the cost of living.

A single ride on a bus or tram is £2.60 whereas in London it's £1.75.

A one-course meal with a drink was £10-15 per person wherever we ended up.

I don't drink but a 500ml bottle of beer was around £7-8.

For the four of us to visit the excellent Universeum it cost £65 - in London most big museums are free so this was a bit of a shock to the system!

The bus to and from the airport cost the four of us about £50 - way more than the Tube or Elizabeth Line from Heathrow.

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Anyway, to get back onto the topic of London football, there isn't a lot on.

Competitive 11-a-side domestic football has to cease by 2359 on 31 May, with the FA allowing nothing to take place in June without special permission.

Check out the 'Daily Digest' below to see what I've found.

One thing that could be worth checking out this week is the UEFA Champions Festival which takes place at five venues around London between Thursday and Sunday (30 May - 2 June) - it's free to get in so could be well worth a half-term visit if you've got kids to entertain.

From my own clubs' perspectives, QPR have announced some interesting friendlies with Spurs and Brighton both coming to Loftus Road in pre-season.

There's still no word on who Harrow Borough's new manager will be and Actonians are still waiting on the FAWNL division allocations for 2024/25.

So I think that really is it for me for this campaign.

It's been highly rewarding as usual and I hope I've helped you make the most of your football-watching time.

I'll still be reachable on X and email over the next few weeks so if you have any questions or want to share info on any interesting games or events, please let me know.


THE WEEK AHEAD

The Champions League Final dominates London's football landscape this week but there are a couple of other things that might catch your interest, including a charity game at The Hive which is stacked with footballing talent.

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.

MATCH MAP 29 MAY-9 JUNE
Wednesday 28 May fixtures - turquoise pin
Friday 31 May fixtures - black pin
Saturday 1 June fixtures - blue pin
Friday 7 June fixtures - green pin
Sunday 9 June fixtures - orange pin




    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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.

Wednesday 29 May

MCFL Premier
Camden United v Hilltop Reserves @8pm - having both avoided relegation, this match between two of the bottom five has very little riding on it. It's being played at the Market Road facility, famously used by the London Underground League, which is a short walk from Caledonian Road Tube station 
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Friday 31 May

MCFL Premier
Camden & Islington United v Jolof Sports @8pm - these two sides will complete their seasons in this 11th-tier league with this game. Fourth and 11th coming into the game, there's also very little at stake here. This is being played at the New River Sports Centre just down the road from Haringey Borough's ground. With all competitive domestic 11-a-side football banned by the FA during the month of June, this is the last club match that you'll be able to see in London this season

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Saturday 1 June

UEFA Champions League Final
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid @8pm - unless you're already a ticket holder or incredibly rich, then your chances of getting into the continent's biggest club match of the season are zilch. Dortmund finished fifth in Germany some 27 points behind champions Bayer Leverkusen so they've done incredibly well to make it to Wembley for this game. They'll start as considerable underdogs to Real who cantered to the Spanish title, racking up 95 points and only losing once in the process. With 14 wins from 17 appearances in the final, Real Madrid are also the most successful club in the competition's history. Borussia have made it twice before, winning once in 1997

Children of Gaza Charity Match
Anwar El Ghazi XI v Nujum Sports XI @3pm - whatever you think about the politics of this match, the line-up of footballers taking part is impressive. Coming from Premier League and EFL sides and several other European clubs, the organisers have done well to assemble this group. Taking place a short Tube ride from Wembley at Barnet's ground, you could easily combine this with the Champions League final if you're lucky enough to be going. Tickets
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Friday 7 June

Friendly
England v Iceland @745pm - after playing Bosnia & Herzegovina in Newcastle a few days before this, Gareth Southgate's side play their final send-off friendly ahead of Euro 2024 against the country which famously knocked them out of France 2016. The Three Lions are much improved since that dark night in Nice, were runners-up last time and are the favourites to win with many bookmakers this time. Iceland had a poor qualifying tournament and finished behind Portugal, Slovakia and Luxembourg in Group J. Saying that, Bosnia were in the same group and finished fifth so England aren't warming up against nations who find themselves in the best of shape. Tickets

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Sunday 9 June

Soccer Aid
England XI v World XI @730pm - the annual mega fundraiser of the English football calendar returns to Stamford Bridge. An array of retired footballers and showbiz stars go head-to-head in this fun match where money raised goes to UNICEF. Very few tickets are left so you'll need to act fast to get one of the last ones

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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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

Monday 20 May 2024

TLFG: 20-26 May 2024

Greetings and welcome to TLFG for what might be the last time this season.

Although we have the Champions League final at Wembley on 1 June and an England friendly there shortly after, I don't know if that's worth writing a whole new piece about them as you'll have little chance of getting a ticket for the former and possibly little interest in going to the latter!

It's possible that one or two minor matches might still get arranged this week so we'll see if it's worth it.

If not, TLFG will primarily exist on Twitter/X until July.

A number of non-league clubs have already started announcing their pre-season schedules with some starting in the last weekend of June so you're not going to have to wait long for the action to return.

Talking of next season, the non-league allocations were published on Friday.

These indicate which leagues and divisions the FA have put clubs into.

My own side Harrow Borough will, as expected, play in the Isthmian League South Central which will see them play numerous derbies and experience a trip to the Channel Islands to take on Guernsey.

One of the most controversial decisions was to place Clapton, Clapton CFC and Tower Hamlets all in the SCEFL Division 1.

The latter have been there before but not so the others - CCFC have lodged an appeal as the majority of games will be across the Thames in Kent meaning longer and more expensive journeys than before.

Pitshanger Dynamo will look to win the MCFL title on Saturday

Last week I mentioned how I was hoping to book a Euro break to watch some summer football this weekend and this morning I achieved that task.

After weighing up my options, the Swedish city of Gothenburg came top so I'll be heading there with the family.

This Saturday sees a very tasty looking double with BK Häcken hosting Hammarby in a top women's game at 1pm before the Häcken men's team travel to GAIS for what I presume is a big derby at 4pm.

Given I'll be travelling with three females, the women's game will take priority but if I can get away with the men's game too, then I will!

When perusing the Futbology app earlier, I also discovered that it's been 15 years since I went to Istanbul to watch the last ever UEFA Cup final between Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen.

Back in the days before I had kids, I used to enter the ballot every year to try and get tickets for the Champions League and UEFA Cup/Europa League finals.

I never got any for the former but got lucky on several occasions with the other, going to finals in Lisbon, Eindhoven, Hamburg, Dublin and this one in Istanbul.

At the time I had a colleague who used to work for Werder so I had a bit of soft spot for them, attending a few of their games around Europe in the preceding years.

He couldn't make it to this so I headed to Fenerbahce's stadium with a Georgian friend from university who flew in from Tbilisi to join me.

The city, my favourite after London, played host to a 'lively' mix of fans with many Ukrainian supporters coming by boat across the Black Sea.

Most UEFA finals I'd been to were pretty orderly affairs but the approach to the ground was chaotic to say the least with many local fans either trying to sell you stuff (mainly beer out of cool boxes) on street corners or trying to get into the ground without tickets.

Once inside we were ok and there were one or two spare seats.

The game wasn't a classic and Shakhtar won 2-1 after extra time - the strongest memories I have are of the local fans who did make it into the game hanging from the rafters, singing passionately and demonstrating what they were all about without having any skin in the game whatsoever.

You can only imagine what a big Istanbul derby is like!

I would probably have tried to go to one by now but since the introduction of the Passolig ticketing system in 2014, it's a real headache to get sorted out.

A few more quick things before I sign off.

On Wednesday I've been lucky enough to be invited to the National Game Awards which are hosted by the Non-League Paper at AFC Wimbledon's stadium.

I was hugely honoured to win the Unsung Hero Award in 2022 but I'm not in the running for anything this year as far as I'm aware.

It's also been really pleasing to see Civil Service FC enjoying a tour of Bilbao this weekend where they've been superbly hosted by Athletic Club.

The two originally played each other well over a hundred years ago and they've rekindled the relationship off the back of Non-League Day which of course takes place here and in the Basque Country.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Matthew N from Crawley and Tom S from Greenwich who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really appreciate it!

THE WEEK AHEAD

The FA Cup and Championship Play-Off finals top the bill this week but there are also some 11th-tier games and the latest Surrey International game to keep you entertained.

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 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 20 May

MCFL Premier
Feltham v Camden & Islington United @8pm - one of the final weeks of the season begins with this 11th-tier contest at the Springwest Academy, a large school in Feltham which doesn't have much in the way of spectator facilities. The hosts are bottom but will keep their very slim hopes of avoiding relegation alive by winning this. The visitors have several games in hand and could finish in the top three 
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Tuesday 21 May

HSCFL Premier
Cockfosters Reserves v Hertford Heath @745pm - the last remaining games in this other 11th-tier division will be played on Tuesday to conclude the 2023/24 campaign. Cockfosters will end the season in 13th if they win whilst HH will remain in fourth whatever happens

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Wednesday 22 May

MCFL Premier
There are four games in this division scattered across London's northern hemisphere on Wednesday. Probably the most significant is the match between Camden United and Jolof Sports towards the bottom of the table. If Feltham win on Monday, then Camden United will need to win this to guarantee they stay up

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Friday 24 May

MCFL Premier
Stonewall FC v Camden United @8pm - if they don't manage it on Wednesday, then the visitors will get another go at confirming their place in the division with this match against London's premier LGBT+ club

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Saturday 25 May

FA Cup Final
Manchester City v Manchester United @3pm - listings like this are primarily for information purposes only as for most casual fans looking for a game, you'll have little chance getting a ticket for something as big as this. For the second year running, the two giants of Mancunian football meet at Wembley for this sparkling domestic prize. Given their very different seasons you'd have to say United need to win it far more than City who claimed yet another Premier League title on Sunday. The Red Devils finished eighth so winning this is their only way into Europe. Tickets have sold out

MCFL Premier
Pitshanger Dynamo v London Tigers @3pm - within sight of the Wembley arch but a million miles away in many other ways, Pitshanger will claim the title in this 11th-tier division if they beat struggling London Tigers. The match is being played at the Brentham Club near Hanger Lane station but check all the details on the day as their venue changed at very short notice last week

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Sunday 26 May

Championship Play-Off Final
Leeds United v Southampton @3pm - there's another huge game at Wembley on Sunday, where the riches of the Premier League are just 90 minutes away. Both are looking to make an instant return to the top flight after suffering relegation last year. Leeds thrashed Norwich in the semi-finals whilst the Saints got the better of West Brom. Interestingly, the Hampshire club did the double over the Whites during the regular season so start as marginal favourites in my book. Tickets will be like goldust for this game but check with the clubs for the latest availability

Friendly
Surrey v London Thai @115pm - after beating London Japanese 6-2 on Sunday, Surrey return to Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe for their next match against a side made up of Thai ex-pats. Tickets are £5 on the gate

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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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

Monday 13 May 2024

TLFG: 13-19 May 2024

Welcome one and all to what will probably be the penultimate guide of the season.

Things are really winding down now with only 30-odd games to choose from over the next seven days, with nothing at all on Monday - unless you can somehow get yourself into Charlton's training ground.

What there is, should be pretty great though.

Top of the bill are the concluding round of fixtures in the Premier League and Women's Super League where the title races are both still open - Manchester City will hope to win both although Arsenal and Chelsea look set to push them all the way.

Actonians won a prestigious FAWNL award at Wembley on Sunday

We've got a couple of EFL Play-Off Finals at Wembley - sadly no London clubs are involved but Crawley Town, in League Two, aren't a million miles away and might be your best bet when it comes to getting tickets.

There's a really great selection of U21 and U18 football too with several finals at clubs' main stadiums between now and the weekend.

My week saw me spend Tuesday afternoon at Loftus Road watching QPR lose 2-0 to Barnsley in an U21 game.

Sadly, that meant the R's youngsters would fall just short of the PDL play-offs and a possible meeting with Sheffield United who they'd beaten comfortably the week before.

Although I didn't make it to Wembley for the Women's FA Cup Final, I did watch it on TV and it was a shame to see Robert Vilahamn's Spurs side so comprehensively beaten 4-0 by a hitherto very inconsistent Manchester United.

It wasn't all bad news from the national stadium though as the FAWNL held their end-of-season awards there before the game and I'm delighted to say that Actonians were named Community Club of the Year in the fourth tier.

Given the resources available, this was a huge achievement by club community officer Shadia Edwards-Dashti who has led various projects with partners including the Felix Project and Amnesty International.

Shadia is also a mainstay of the club's reserve side and regularly presents the evening news on local TV station London Live so she's a busy lady!

Given the games are running out, I may have seen my last one for this season - at least domestically.

I'm off for the last two weeks of May and there's a chance I might head overseas to see one of the summer leagues in action - Ireland, Norway and Sweden are the leading contenders at the moment but it all hinges on my daughters' new passports coming through.

Have a great week everyone!

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL Play-Offs, Women's Super League and a number of other finals at non-league and youth level.

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
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 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.

Tuesday 14 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @8pm - Spurs take on reigning league champions City knowing that the outcome will hugely influence whether or not their arch rivals Arsenal win the league. If they win, then the Gunners will probably become champions and if they don't, then City probably will. However, to complicate things further, Ange Postecoglu's side need to win to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place (depending on Villa's result on Monday night). Tickets are not available

U18 Premier League Final
Chelsea v Manchester United @7pm - the Blues finished five points clear at the top of Group South and now face the Red Devils, who won Group North, at Stamford Bridge. Manchester City have won this competition for the last four years but United left them trailing in their wake so I'd have them as marginal favourites. Tickets 

CCL Challenge Cup Semi-Final
Bedfont Sports v Burnham @745pm - having pushed hard for promotion all season both finished in the top six but didn't make it to the next level. Therefore, to end the season with some silverware would be a great consolation. The hosts start as favourites for me. The winners will play Langley or Virginia Water in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate
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Wednesday15 May

Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @715pm - for the second night running, Spurs hold the destiny of a title in their hands. This time it's Manchester City who will be praying for a favour from the north London club. If Chelsea win this they'll go into the final game on level points with City. After their 4-0 mauling by Manchester United in Sunday's FA Cup Final, Robert Vilahamn will be hoping for a strong response from his team. This is being played at Leyton Orient. Online sales appear to have ended and Chelsea have sold out their allocation so check with the club for the latest ticketing information

Premier League International Cup
Crystal Palace v PSV Eindhoven @7pm - in this men's U21 competition we have a repeat of last year's final. Being played at Selhurst Park again, the Dutch side will hope to regain their title. It went to extra time last season before they won 3-1. This season they've enjoyed wins over the likes of Chelsea, Nottingham Forest and West Ham. Palace's most notable victories have come over Benfica and Monaco. Tickets

Essex Premier Cup Final
Brightlingsea Town v Rayleigh Town @8pm - on Wednesday there's a chance to see two 11th-tier teams which this blog doesn't normally cover because the final's being played at Aveley. Brightlingsea finished fourth in the Essex & Suffolk Border League whilst Rayleigh come into the game as the newly crowned Essex Olympian League champions. Tickets will be available on the gate

ACYL Champions Cup Semi-Final
Northwood v Walton & Hersham @745pm - having won the ACYL East Division title, the hosts go into this post-season U18 competition against the winners of all the other regional divisions. On Wednesday they play South Division winners Walton & Hersham. The winners will face Badshot Lea or Thatcham Town in the final

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Thursday 16 May

Premier League Cup Final
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - the cup finals continue on Thursday at Craven Cottage. This time it's in this U21 competition which began with a group phase before progressing to knockout rounds. These clubs have two of the best academies in the country with Fulham finishing third in the PL2 and Spurs top (the play-offs to decide who ultimately wins are currently underway). When the sides last met at Motspur Park just over two weeks ago, it was the north London club who won 2-0. Tickets

Middlesex Charity Cup Final
Uxbridge v North Greenford United @745pm - in the last of the many Middlesex county cups for adults, Isthmian League side Uxbridge will start as favourites against NGU who play a level below them. The Reds have won this competition numerous times and have been to two of the last three finals, winning both of them. NGU have one title win to their name, beating Enfield Town 1-0 in 2010. Tickets

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Friday 17 May

Professional Development League Play-Off Semi-Final
Millwall v Birmingham City @7pm - the Lions clearly place a lot of emphasis on youth development as they won this U21 competition last season and are now two matches away from winning it again. The Blues finished runners-up to Sheffield United in Group North and face a challenging evening at The Den. Tickets

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Saturday 18 May

League One Play-Off Final
Bolton Wanderers v Oxford United @415pm - Bolton boss Ian Evatt has only been in management since 2018 and in that time he's managed two promotions, an EFL Trophy win and, including this one, two other play-off appearances - not bad at all. In the other dugout we have another bright young manager in Des Buckingham. Although born in Oxford most of his career has been spent overseas with his last job being in India where he guided Mumbai City to a place in the Asian Champions League. Often among the frontrunners in League One, Oxford had a dreadful 2022/23 campaign and were lucky not to get relegated so they've been hugely improved under their new coach. If they do win, it will be the first time they've played in the second tier since 1999. Tickets are available directly from each club so choose whether you want to support Bolton or Oxford and you'll get them emailed to you

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - it's the final day of the season in the WSL and aside from the title battle between Chelsea and Manchester City, pretty much everything else has been decided. Whatever happens here, the Gunners will finish third and enter next season's Champions League. The Seagulls are safe from relegation but are in the bottom four and will start as significant underdogs. The match is being played at Boreham Wood and has sold out
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @3pm - of more interest is this London derby at the impressive Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Despite losing heavily to Manchester United in Sunday's FA Cup Final, Spurs managed to put in a decent display against Chelsea in midweek and only lost 1-0. Regardless of this, they've had a good season and have already sealed a sixth-place finish. Unless they win by a large margin here, the Hammers will finish second bottom as another pretty underwhelming campaign comes to an end. Tickets are available 

MCFL Premier
Pitshanger Dynamo v Stonewall FC @3pm - most non-league competitions have ended but we still have a few games to go in the 11th tier MCFL. The pick of Saturday's action for me is this match which features title challengers Pitshanger. Currently five points off top spot in third, the top two have completed their seasons so if they win their remaining two matches, the title will be theirs. The visitors are a solid midtable team who could force their way into the top five if they do well in their last four games. This is being played at the Brentham Club near Hanger Lane 
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Sunday 19 May

Premier League
Arsenal v Everton @4pm - it's the final day of the Premier League season and there'll be some very nervous people heading to the Emirates for this. The Gunners pushed Manchester City hard last season but ended up finishing second by five points. Coming into this one, they're two points behind so could end up missing out by five points again if they lose here. On paper, they shouldn't lose as the Toffees are 15th and have shipped a total of nine goals on their last two visits. However, Sean Dyche's side are under no pressure and in great form. Arsenal have slightly better goal difference so for them to become champions they have to win and need City to draw or lose against West Ham at the Etihad. Tickets are available to members via the club's ticket exchange whilst hospitality packages are available from £995
Brentford v Newcastle United @4pm - with Liverpool and Aston Villa having sewn up third and fourth, the next battle of interest is the one to finish fifth and sixth and claim guaranteed European places. Down in 16th and with another season in the top flight secured, the Bees are not in contention but they can decide whether or not the Magpies are. Currently seventh and three points behind Chelsea but with a better goal difference, they have to win. If Manchester City win the FA Cup next week, then seventh place will be enough for a Europa Conference League place but if Manchester United win, then seventh gets nothing. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth @4pm - after their really underwhelming season, the Blues are finishing strongly and now only need to draw this match to finish sixth and qualify for the Europa League, something which looked like the stuff of fantasy earlier in the campaign. In fact a win could see them edge above Spurs into fifth if they lose at Sheffield United. The Cherries looked relegation certainties earlier in the campaign but could finish 10th with a win here which would be highly impressive. Tickets are on general sale but the cheapest are £120
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa @4pm - if Bournemouth and Brighton slip up then Palace have the opportunity to finish 10th too. Aside from the biggest clubs in the division, the majority of sides have to get most things right in order to avoid the drop and the Eagles have succeeded again. With some amazing attacking talents at their disposal, they've got through a sticky patch which saw them change managers and they're now set for an 11th consecutive season at this level. Villa have been one of the success stories of 2023/24 under former Arsenal boss Unai Emery who has guided them to their first top-four finish since 1996. With very little pressure on either side, this could turn into one of those crazy end of season goalfests that sometimes occur at this time of year - here's hoping! Tickets are only available to members

League Two Play-Off Final
Crawley Town v Crewe Alexandra @1pm - this time last year, Crawley had narrowly avoided relegation into non-league and now here they are at Wembley 90 minutes from a place in League One. In the semi-finals they crushed MK Dons 8-1 on aggregate whist Crewe needed penalties to edge past Doncaster Rovers. Only a point separated them in the regular season so this should hopefully produce an entertaining contest. Once again, choose who you want to support and buy through either the Crawley or Crewe websites

Premier League 2 Play-Off Semi-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @12pm - if you're struggling to find a way to watch a Premier League match on Sunday then why not head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for this important U21 game instead? Spurs topped the PL2 in the regular season and Chelsea finished fourth. The winners will meet Reading or Sunderland in the final. Tickets are £10

Friendly
Surrey v London Japanese @115pm - after beating Wanderers 2-0 last weekend, Surrey return to Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe for their next match against a side made up of Japanese ex-pats. There is a large Japanese community based in West Acton and that's where I'm led to believe the club are based. Tickets are £5 on the gate

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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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

Monday 6 May 2024

TLFG: 7-12 May 2024

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

Well, well, well it's been quite a weekend with several divisions coming to an exciting end with their play-off finals.

Huge congratulations to Bromley, Enfield Town, Erith Town and Sporting Bengal United who all find themselves celebrating promotion at the end of this Bank Holiday weekend.

Hands up, I have to admit to finding it really hard to keep up with the play-off fixtures with the leagues' own websites lacking accurate info in some cases - so apologies if you missed a match because I wasn't up to speed.

Thankfully there's some more thrills and spills on Tuesday with the Combined Counties League play-offs taking centre stage.

NLFD takes place at Wembley on Saturday - tickets

The one bad thing about this point of the season is that there aren't many games.

Aside from the play-off finals next week, the EFL season is over in London as is the National League, Isthmian League, Southern League and pretty much all of our local ninth and 10th tier leagues too.

This weekend's highlights are several matches in the Premier League, the Women's FA Cup Final and Non-League Finals Day which both take place at Wembley.

I had initially thought I'd go to the Women's FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur but it's sold out and going to watch Spurs in the semi-final wasn't enough for me to qualify for a ticket. 

So going to Non-League Finals Day is the more likely possibility.

If you haven't been before, it sees the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals played back-to-back and it's a lot of fun but it's a LONG day and there's no readmission between matches so once you're in, you're in. I know smokers who won't attend because they just can't handle going that long without a ciggy - if the Trophy goes to penalties, you could be there for around seven hours!

Earlier in the week, there's a good chance I'll finish work early on Tuesday and have enough time to get to Loftus Road for QPR's U21 match against Barnsley so I should get to see something.

I'll hope to have full previews for the weekend by Friday - have a great one!


THE WEEK AHEAD

This week we've got matches in the Premier League, Women's FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase and some of the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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
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 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.

Tuesday 7 May

Professional Development League
QPR v Barnsley @1pm - Tuesday's action gets underway at Loftus Road with this U21 match. The top two in each group make it into the semi-finals and the R's need to win this to make sure they stay on course to finish as runners-up in Group South. Admission is by donation to the club's trust 

CCL Premier Division Play-Off Final
Rayners Lane v Bedfont Sports @745pm - the hosts finished as runners-up to Flackwell Heath after leading for a large part of the campaign. They're now 90 minutes away from earning a place in the eighth tier but so are Bedfont Sports. The visitors have only lost one of their last 21 games so should provide formidable opposition. Tickets will be available on the gate for around £8

CCL Division 1 Play-Off Final
British Airways v Berks County @745pm - a level below, both these sides are looking to win a place in the ninth tier for the first time in their histories. BA finished as runners-up to runaway leaders Amersham Town who accumulated a whopping 111 points from their 42 games. The visitors came third and lost both league fixtures against British Airways during the regular season. Tickets will be available on the gate
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Wednesday 8 May

MCFL Premier Division
There are three games in this 11th-tier division on Wednesday night and they feature all three of the current top three. It's hard to predict who'll win this division as the amount of fixtures played by each side varies quite significantly and the season is set to run until the end of the month so it should provide you with your football fix for several weeks yet. As for Wednesday, leaders PFC Victoria London travel to Indian Gymkhana Club by Osterley station. Second placed Shepherds Bush host Larkspur Rovers at Harefield United whilst third placed Pitshanger Dynamo take on Hayes & Hillingdon at Brentham Club near Hanger Lane. As far as I know, Indian Gymkhana and Pitshanger don't have floodlights at their grounds so the kick-offs are likely to be before 7pm but they haven't published them yet - check social media on the day

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Thursday 9 May

SPCFL Challenge Cup Final
CB Hounslow United v Worcester Park @745pm - being played at Abbey Rangers, this cup final for 11th-tier clubs should be a fun way to spend Thursday evening. CBHU are sitting snugly in midtable but face a tough evening against a strong Worcester Park side who are currently second in the league and still have an outside chance of the title 

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Friday 10 May

Robert Rowan Invitational
Brentford v AFC Bournemouth @7pm - the Bees' B team (effectively their U21s) welcome their counterparts from the Cherries to the GTech for this charity match. Held in the memory of the club's former technical director who died from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 28. Tickets are £3

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Saturday 11 May

Premier League
Fulham v Manchester City @1230pm - a packed programme of top-flight action begins with this match which could have a crucial effect on the title race. The Cottagers are coasting along in midtable and are under no pressure whatsoever. City, however, are one point behind leaders Arsenal with a game in hand. To most observers the title is theirs to lose but lose it they could if they come unstuck here. The chances of it happening are slim though as the visitors have won their last 15 games against the London club. Tickets are not available
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley @3pm - a huge game for both clubs with defeat for either ruining their hopes and dreams. Spurs' slim chances of a top-four finish will end if they get anything less than a win, and even a victory might not be enough if Aston Villa beat Liverpool on Monday night. The Clarets, on the other hand, will get relegated if they fail to win and like Tottenham a win might still not be enough. Tickets are only available to members
West Ham United v Luton Town @3pm - after some great results at various points during the season, the Hammers appear to have run out of steam and now face a battle to stay in the top 10. With one win from five, their form isn't great and manager David Moyes will leave at the end of the campaign. It's a different story for the Hatters who could be relegated on Saturday if they lose here. Tickets

Non-League Finals Day
The big showpiece event of the non-league calendar is here again. Taking place at Wembley, the finals of the FA Vase (for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers) and the FA Trophy (for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers) are played back-to-back with one ticket getting you access to both games. It's a lot of fun but it's a long day and if the Vase only requires 90 minutes of play then there's around a two-hour interval between matches and you're not allowed to come and go from the stadium so smokers beware! Tickets

FA Vase Final
Great Wakering Rovers v Romford @1215pm - the day begins with the Vase final which for the first time in the competition's history will be contested by two clubs from the Essex Senior League. Although both sides finished in the top six, neither managed to do enough to get promoted so this match will define their season. The sides have already met three times in 2023/24 in the league and cup and Romford won them all

FA Trophy Final
Gateshead v Solihull Moors @415pm - both of these National League sides suffered huge play-off disappointment but for very different reasons. Gateshead qualified for the post-season but were then suddenly told they couldn't take part because of problems with their stadium, something which must have been absolutely devastating after such a great season. Solihull played in all three rounds of the play-offs and claimed the scalp of runners-up Barnet prior to losing on penalties in the final, also at Wembley, to Bromley last weekend. As a result of these huge set-backs, both will desperately want to win here

Premier League 2 Play-Off Quarter-Final
Arsenal v Chelsea @1pm - if you're looking for good value then head to Boreham Wood's ground for this eye-catching U21 match. The Gunners finished the regular season in fifth just below the Blues on goal difference so this should be close. Admission to Meadow Park is free and the winners will play Spurs or Liverpool in the next round

MCFL Premier Division Cup Final
Kodak (Harrow) v Stonewall FC @745pm - if you want to see a couple of games on Saturday then this evening kick-off at Uxbridge's ground gives you that opportunity. Neck-and-neck in midtable in this 11th-tier division we should hopefully get a decent game. As yet I haven't seen any info about tickets but it won't be expensive
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Sunday 12 May

Women's FA Cup Final
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur @230pm - since this competition's launch in 1970, neither of these sides have won and it's Spurs' first appearance in the final so whatever happens, someone new is going to win it. United only made the final for the first time last year where they lost to Chelsea. Fifth and sixth in the table, it's a really tough one to call. When the sides last met three weeks ago in the north-west, it finished 2-2. Personally I really want to see Spurs win. If you haven't read this blog before, you might have missed that their Swedish manager Robert Vilahamn has been volunteering his time on Monday nights coaching Actonians at youth level. Last month I went to see him oversee Tottenham's win over Leicester in the FA Cup semi-final at the THS and the following day he was grassroots coaching at the club my daughter plays for - brilliant! Tickets for the final have sold out. If you do want to go there's likely to be a few going round on social media. Huge thanks to TLFG reader Kelvin W who offered me some, sadly my aforementioned daughter starts her SATS exams on Monday so we're going to be focusing on that instead

Premier League 2 Play-Off Quarter-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @7pm - it's all about Spurs on Sunday with this U21 game taking place too. Thankfully they've scheduled it for the evening so you can potentially do both. To top it all it's being played at the THS so if the women win at Wembley earlier in the day, this could turn into quite a party! Tickets are £10

Friendly
Surrey International v Wanderers FC @4pm - if you fancy something a bit different, the Surrey men's team return to action with this friendly against one of the oldest clubs in the world. Although playing well down the pyramid these days, Wanderers won five of the first seven FA Cup finals to make them one of the most successful clubs in the competition's history. The match is being played at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe. Admission is £5


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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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

Sunday 28 April 2024

TLFG: 29 April - 6 May 2024

After suffering the disappointment of Harrow Borough's relegation, the last few days have been filled with far more joy as QPR secured their place in the Championship with a game to spare.

A home game against a Leeds United side looking for an instant return to the Premier League looked like a tough assignment.

Most of us were hoping for a hard fought 1-0 win a bit like the one against Preston the week before but what transpired took us all by surprise.

Ilias Chair scored in the eighth minute and the R's never looked back.

January signing Lucas Andersen scored a second before half-time and then Lyndon Dykes and Sam Field added two more in the closing stages for a thoroughly deserved 4-0 win.

Crystal Palace celebrate their promotion to the WSL

The result saved Marti Cifuentes' side from relegation and confirmed Leicester City's promotion back to the top flight.

Leeds are now in a battle with Ipswich Town for the final automatic promotion place.

Currently level on points, the Suffolk club have a game in hand against Coventry in midweek which if won could put them at a big advantage going into the final match.

Anyway, that's for them to worry about.

As for live football, with Actonians' friendly on Sunday cancelled, I went to Selhurst Park to watch Crystal Palace rubber stamp their promotion to the Women's Super League for the first time in their history.

Three points ahead of nearest rivals Charlton Athletic going into the final game but with a much better goal difference, the result against Sunderland didn't really matter.

A crowd of around 7,000 turned out to watch the Eagles' women ride their luck and grind out a 0-0 draw which saw them win the title by one point.

They'll be replacing Bristol City who confirmed their relegation with a 4-0 loss to leaders Manchester City.

Five of the 12 teams in next season's WSL will now be from London so there'll be no shortage of top women's games in the capital in 2024/25.

Next Sunday I'm hoping to swap a shift at work so I can get to Actonians' final match of the season against AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane.

The Dons have already won the fourth-tier division they both play in so it'll be a bit of a victory lap for them - hopefully my girls will be able to spoil the party.

At the time of writing, the play-offs have got underway in most divisions which means the schedule of games at the end of the week and into the bank holiday has still to be decided so come back on Friday to see what's on.

What we do know is that Bromley will be playing Solihull Moors at Wembley on Sunday for a place in League Two so the best of luck to them - tickets go on sale on Monday morning.

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week we've got matches in the Premier League, National League, Women's Super League and most of the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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



BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow pin


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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 29 April

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - the final round of regular-season games in this competition is being played on Monday. Whatever happens here, Spurs have already finished first in this 26-team league. Once this game is complete, the top 16 move into a play-off stage where 1st plays 16th, 2nd faces 15th etc. The Eagles are also through but a win here could see them finish as high as ninth. This is being played at Sutton United and tickets will be available on the gate for no more than £5

London Senior Cup Final
Hendon v Charlton Athletic U21 @745pm - if you'd prefer to see a match with a lot more riding on it then head to Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill which is playing host to this final. The Greens finished their Southern League campaign in a very respectable 10th and will want to end their season on a big high with a win here. They last won this cup in 2020 when they beat a young Brentford side. On Monday they face the Addicks who won it last year after edging past Haringey Borough 5-3 in a dramatic final. Tickets are £10 and can be bought online or on the gate

CCL Division 1
RB Kensington v Bedfont @745pm - the hosts still have three games to go and have an outside chance of grabbing a play-off place if they win all three. The visitors are down in 12th and will complete their over-running season with this match. This is being played at North Greenford United and tickets will be available on the gate
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Tuesday 30 April

SCEFL Premier Semi-Final Play-Off
Glebe v Erith Town @745pm - after some thrills and spills in the National League over the weekend, the play-off season gets into full swing this week. First up is this all south-east London tie at Foxbury Avenue. The hosts were top for a while and have been in the leading group all season. They eventually finished third and now take on a Dockers side who surged into the top four after a fantastic late run of results which also saw them win the Kent Senior Trophy. Form suggests that the visitors might just edge it. Tickets will be available on the gate

EAL Senior Division Cup Final
Walthamstow Reserves v FC Baresi @730pm - Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road plays host to this 11th-tier cup final. Baresi won the league so they'll be hoping to complete a double against midtable opposition. Tickets will be available on the gate

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Wednesday 1 May

Isthmian League Premier Play-Off Semi-Final
Enfield Town v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - one of the smallest clubs in the division, the visitors have done the almost unthinkable and made it to the play-offs. They made sure of it with a solid 3-0 win over Carshalton on the final day. Next up comes a formidable tie against north London rivals Enfield who should start as favourites. The Towners pulled in over 1,000 fans for their final game against Chatham and a large and vocal crowd should be there to cheer them on again. Tickets are £12

L&SE Women's League D1 South
Bromley v Newhaven @745pm - in the women's game we've got a top-two clash in this sixth-tier division. The Ravens are second and their Sussex opponents top. Whatever happens, they'll finish in those positions so it's purely pride at stake here

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Thursday 2 May

Premier League
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @730pm - the Blues did well to draw 2-2 at Aston Villa on Saturday as they gave a vastly improved performance from the one which saw them lose 5-0 at Arsenal. Still in with a chance of a European place, they've got to start winning again very soon. With Spurs chasing a Champions League spot themselves, they need a victory too. Despite Chelsea's really poor showing this season, one of the few highlights was the 4-1 win at the THS in the reverse fixture - although Tottenham played the last 35 minutes with 9 men so it wasn't actually that impressive. Tickets are only available to members but hospitality packages are available from £300

Capital Women's Senior Cup Final
Haringey Borough v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @730pm - the form guide suggested this final was going to be between Actonians and AFC Wimbledon but both fell victim to upsets in the semi-finals. Haringey thoroughly deserved their 3-2 win over the A's whilst a look at the Dons' squad for their last-four tie suggested a bit of squad rotation. Either way, both these sides should be at full strength for this. Ashford play a level above Haringey so should start as favourites. The match is being played at Hendon - tickets are £5 and can be bought online or on the gate

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Friday 3 May

Professional Development League
Millwall v Wigan Athletic @2pm - split into a Group North and a Group South, the top two teams in each division after 30 matches qualify for the play-offs. The Lions won this U21 competition last year and may well have secured top spot in the South again by the time this kicks off as they have a game at Peterborough earlier in the week. Wigan are not in the running. This is being played at The Den and tickets are available
Watford v Burnley @2pm - there's little at stake in the other game of the day between two also-rans but it's being played at Vicarage Road so if you haven't been before then this is a good opportunity. Tickets

Essex Senior League Play-Off Semi-Final
Woodford Town v Sporting Bengal United @745pm - after a delay of a couple of days, the ESL play-offs are finally here. Ashtons plays host to this match between two London clubs which should generate a great atmosphere. The sides scored 165 goals between them over the course of the league campaign so hopefully this will deliver a load more. The winners will play Barking or Romford in the final. Tickets are £7 on the gate 
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Premier League
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth @1230pm - the Gunners come into this as league leaders but only by a point and main challengers Manchester City have a game in hand. With three games to go, they simply have to win every one and that still might not be enough. The Cherries should be beaten but they've had a superb season and a top-eight finish is within their grasp. Tickets are only available to members
Brentford v Fulham @3pm - across town, there's a mouthwatering west London derby at the GTech. Games between these two are always keenly contested and with both now having avoided relegation, they should be free to play and put on a good show. The Bees have won three of the last four matches between the sides and will want to improve that record even more. Tickets are only available to members

CCL Premier North Play-Off Semi-Final
Bedfont Sports v Reading City @3pm - if you can't get into either of the above, then a little to the west of the GTech, we've got this exciting play-off match to look forward to. The hosts existed in a strange third-place no-man's land a long way adrift of the leaders and well clear of the chasing pack for a large chunk of the campaign so they've had plenty of time to plan for the post-season. The visitors only secured their place more recently. In the two games between them during the regular season, Bedfont won 6-0 and drew 2-2 so they'll start as favourites. Tickets are £8 on the gate
Rayners Lane v Holyport @3pm - it's crunch time for the hosts who topped the league for months but ended up five points off the pace. If social media is to be believed, many neutrals badly want to see them fail as they've spent a fortune of wages to players with EFL experience in an effort to get promoted. Holyport only made it into the play-offs on Thursday night after Burnham lost to Hilltop, meaning they kept hold of fifth. The hosts should win but let's see. Tickets will be available on the gate

Middlesex Charity Cup Semi-Final
North Greenford United v Harefield United @3pm - a few weeks ago things were looking really exciting for NGU. In the quarter-finals of the FA Vase and firmly in the hunt for the play-offs, they were having a great season. Sadly they lost that quarter-final and eventually missed out on promotion so this competition still gives them the chance to end the campaign on a high. Harefield were bumping along at the bottom for a while but they improved greatly and ended up finishing comfortably in midtable. The winners will face Uxbridge in the final
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Sunday 5 May

Premier League
Chelsea v West Ham United @2pm - after beating Spurs on Thursday night, the Blues look like they might just force their way into the top six at the last minute which would be quite something given how poor they've been. Sadly for David Moyes, the Hammers seem to have run out of steam at precisely the wrong moment and despite fine draws against Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool in recent weeks, the wins seem to have dried up. Having played one more game than the three teams immediately above them, their hopes of getting back into Europe again seem slim and only really a win will do here. Tickets are only available to members but hospitality packages are available from £300

National League Play-Off Final
Bromley v Solihull Moors @3pm - if Stamford Bridge is beyond your price range then there's also a huge game at Wembley where two sides with no previous EFL experience find themselves only 90 minutes away from a place in League Two. The Ravens made it to the play-off semi-finals last year and have gone one better this time. Although they finished higher in the table than Solihull, this is really tough to call as they've played twice in the last month with very different results. Solihull beat Bromley 2-1 at Hayes Lane to make the final of the FA Trophy, meaning they're going to Wembley twice in a week, and then they lost 3-0 to them at the same venue in a league game shortly after. Adult tickets are available from £35

Women's Super League
Chelsea v Bristol City @645pm - when Emma Hayes announced she would be leaving the Blues at the end of the season there was much talk of her departing on the back of a glorious quadruple. Sadly for her that is not going to happen. Out of the Champions League, FA Cup and beaten in the final of the League Cup, hopes of retaining the WSL title received a huge blow when they lost 4-3 to Liverpool on Wednesday. Now six points adrift of leaders Manchester City with three games to go, it's not impossible but it's going to be tough. Sunday could be pivotal though - Chelsea should comfortably beat already relegated Bristol City but Manchester City have a challenging home game against Arsenal so the gap could close. Tickets have sold out
West Ham United v Leicester City @3pm - with Bristol City having already claimed the only relegation place, these two will now be fighting to avoid the ignominy of finishing second from bottom. The Foxes are still relatively new to this level so for them to be struggling is no shock or disgrace but for the Hammers to be right down there is disappointing. Rehanne Skinner was able to bring in some big names in January and it started quite well but they haven't now won a game for three months and the season can't end soon enough. Tickets

FAWNL Division 1 South East
AFC Wimbledon v Actonians @2pm - it's the final day in the women's fourth tier and there's not a huge amount to play for. The Dons have won the title already and will be doing their trophy lift after this game. The A's had a very shaky start to this transitional season but they've come good since the start of 2024 and could even finish fourth if they somehow win this and QPR drop points against AFC Sudbury. This is being played at Plough Lane and a decent crowd is expected - tickets
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Sunday 6 May

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Manchester United @8pm - with three games to go, the Eagles are safe and can now have a bit of fun in their last few matches. United, on the other hand, are still fighting for a place in the top six and need every point they can get. The London club won the reverse fixture at Old Trafford so know what it takes to beat Erik ten Hag's team. Tickets are only available to members

SCEFL Premier Division Play-Off Final
Erith Town v Corinthian @3pm - finishing fourth and fifth respectively, these sides both caused upsets in the semi-finals by knocking out teams who finished higher in the table. The Dockers have home advantage and are in better form so they look the more likely to make it into the promised land of the Isthmian League South East. Tickets are £8 on the gate

Premier League 2
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @7pm - after finishing third, the Cottagers' U21 side should feel confident as they head into this play-off match against their counterparts from Forest. In this 26-team division, the top 16 make the post-season so there's still a long way to go. This is being played at the club's training ground in Motspur Park and tickets will be available on the gate

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