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 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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange 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 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 

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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