Sunday, 22 March 2015

TLFG: 23-29 March 2015

In a bit of a rush this week as I'm heading out of town for a few days. Consequently there won't be a Top 10 which is a bit of a shame as there are quite a few derbies at non-league level so have a good look at the map to make sure you don't miss out.

On Saturday I managed to pull off the parkrun/football double again - I'm living a charmed life at the moment.

Starting the day with a couple of laps of a windy Wormwood Scrubs, the afternoon was spent at Grosvenor Vale for the Conference South clash between Wealdstone and local rivals Boreham Wood.

The Wood are going for the title this season and coped better with the windy conditions as they recorded a vital 0-1 win.

With leaders Bromley inexplicably losing 1-0 at home to Staines, a side so bad that they would've been relegated if they hadn't won, Ian Allinson's side closed the gap to a point.

Boreham Wood (white) go close to opening the scoring at Wealdstone
Last week I kicked off with a bit about the success of 'Pay What You Want' offers and this week I'm going to continue that theme by mentioning that Corinthian Casuals also enjoyed a big increase on their average gate.

Normally the eighth-tier team get around 150 through the turnstiles - yesterday they got 278. So what's that? About an 80% increase - not bad at all.

This Saturday, the March Madness is completed by fellow Isthmian League club Wingate & Finchley who host London rivals Dulwich Hamlet. Just to confirm, they are also running a 'Pay What You Want' promotion as part of a fun-packed community day.

The match kicks-off at 1pm because they've arranged a groundhop double with neighbours Haringey Borough who've pushed their Essex Senior League game against Hullbridge Sports back to 330pm. Not only this but Haringey are laying on a free minibus to transport you between the two (see Wingate's website for details of reserving a place). I'm not sure if Haringey are offering any discount on admission to the game itself but they only charge £5-6 anyway so it's already cheap. Good luck to all involved!

One of the main reasons the clubs chose to arrange this event is because we've got another international break this weekend - if you're hoping to see some Premier League or Championship football this week then you're out of luck.

This week the highest level games will be England's Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley and Brazil's friendly against Chile at Arsenal's ground. Not bad substitutes and both still have tickets available.

THE FA TROPHY FINAL

Personally though, I'll be off to Wembley on Sunday to the FA Trophy Final which myself and the rest of the Non-League Day team are still continuing our efforts to promote.

If you missed it, we're trying to create a big non-league get-together at the country's national stadium on 29 March at 130pm for what is effectively the non-league cup final.

With it being on the Sunday, aside from a match at Fleetwood Town, there won't be any Premier League or Football League action alongside it. Also, there will be virtually nothing happening lower down the pyramid either so I heartily invite you to join us.

The record crowd since the competition began in 1969/70 is 53,262 which was achieved back in 2007 when Stevenage Borough beat Kidderminster Harriers and getting anywhere near that will be a huge challenge.

This year's final will see North Ferriby United play Wrexham.

Very well done to the aptly named Villagers from the Conference North. They come quite literally from a village near Hull with a population of only 3,893 (2011 Census) so filling Wembley will be tough.

I'm hoping the Dragons will bring a few though. They were a League One side not all that long ago so it will be a real David v Goliath contest which I'm looking forward to.

COMPETITION RESULT
Over the last week we ran a competition giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets to the FA Trophy Final. To win you had to answer the following question:

The highest attendance in FA Trophy Final history was set in 2007 but which club won it that year?

The answer was of course Stevenage Borough.

We had two pairs to give away and by chance both our winners were called David. I'm not too sure how much more I can announce for data protection reasons but the tickets will be heading out first class over the next day or two.

If you didn't win then there's still time to book tickets online and I'm told you will be able to buy at the stadium on the day if you want to leave it until the last minute.

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures





If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

TLFG: 16-22 March 2015

At TLFG we love a deal and there's been plenty of great stuff going on. This week we summarise what our local clubs have been up to and there's also news of an exciting competition we're running where you could win a trip to Wembley.

Throughout March, there has been and will be a 'Pay What You Want' deal every Saturday.

Last weekend Sutton United tried it, this weekend it was Northwood. Next week it's Corinthian Casuals' turn and finally Wingate & Finchley the Saturday after that.

On the face of it, 'Pay What You Want' seems to be quite a gamble but in the overwhelming majority of cases it brings great rewards.

Corinthian Casuals become the latest club to offer a 'Pay What You Want' deal
More often than not, you get a much bigger crowd than normal with people happy to pay the going rate anyway and if they don't then they more than make up the difference on programmes, raffles, refreshments, merchandise or all of the above. Usually the club ends up making a decent profit.

In the two games so far this month Sutton drew 861 for the visit of Hayes & Yeading United - their highest crowd of the season, approximately 300 more than usual. While Northwood got 343 which was also their highest crowd by a long way - their average is just 121. So a resounding success in both cases.

Next up it's Isthmian League club Corinthian Casuals. They host promotion contenders Herne Bay on what will be their Family Day. There's lots planned and it's easy to get to. If you don't drive, the ground is a short walk from Tolworth station which is less than half an hour from Waterloo.

Casuals have been averaging crowds of 153 so lets see what kind of boost they receive.

THE FA TROPHY FINAL

In other news, we (the Non-League Day team) are still continuing our efforts to promote an important match which is coming up at Wembley.

If you missed it, we're trying to create a big non-league get-together at the country's national stadium on Sunday 29 March for the FA Trophy Final - effectively the non-league cup final.

It coincides with the next international break and with it being on the Sunday, aside from a match at Fleetwood Town up near Blackpool, there won't be any Premier League or Football League action alongside it. Also, there will be virtually nothing happening lower down the pyramid either so I heartily invite you to join us.

The record crowd since the competition began in 1969/70 is 53,262 which was achieved back in 2007 when Stevenage Borough beat Kidderminster Harriers and getting anywhere near that will be a huge challenge.

This year's final will see North Ferriby United play Wrexham.

Very well done to the aptly named Villagers from the Conference North. They come quite literally from a village near Hull with a population of only 3,893 (2011 Census) so filling Wembley will be tough.

I'm hoping the Dragons will bring a few though. They were a League One side not all that long ago so it will be a real David v Goliath contest which I'm looking forward to.

COMPETITION TIME!!!
If you want to join us at Wembley then we've got two pairs of tickets to give away (travel not included). Simply email us the answer to the following question by 11:59pm GMT on Saturday 21 March and we'll reveal the winners the following day:

The highest attendance in FA Trophy Final history was set in 2007 but which club won it that year?

a) Barrow

b) Ebbsfleet United

c) Stevenage Borough

Good luck!

If you don't win or want to make sure of your place then tickets are still available to buy:

Adults: £30
Senior citizens/Students: £20
U16s: £10

However, these prices drop significantly if you bring a group of 15 or more:

Adults: £15
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £5

Personally I think these are fair prices, given it's a Wembley cup final. If you're visiting London and want to see a game at one of the best and most famous football stadiums in the world then you won't get a much better chance than this. Hope to see you there.

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Queens Park Rangers v Everton - there's nothing particularly awesome going on in the Premier League this week and I've highlighted this because it's the only one with any tickets left. QPR disgraced themselves with a particularly limp display at Crystal Palace on Saturday and are now second from bottom, four points adrift of safety. The Toffees are having one of their poorest seasons for a while and are by no means home and dry but a solid 3-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday suggests Rangers will have to pull their socks up to stand a chance. (Premier League, Sunday 22 March, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Watford v Ipswich Town - all the most exciting looking stuff appears to be in the Championship where there are at least five games I'd happily recommend. The pick is this one against two promotion contenders. This time last week four teams were sharing top spot, this has now been whittled down to three with Watford still in this elite group. Not only this but they are unbeaten in five, meaning they are the most in-form side in the division. Ipswich were right up there but have slipped to seventh after a 4-1 humbling by Middlesbrough on Saturday. This took their winless run to four so they look vulnerable. (Championship, Saturday 21 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Millwall - a little earlier in the day we have this London derby which is of great importance at both ends of the table. After suffering a 2-1 loss at home to Cardiff on Saturday, the Bees have been left in sixth, clinging on to the last play-off spot. Cross-town rivals Millwall, after topping the table at the start of the season, have gone on to have a complete stinker and are now certainties for relegation after their loss to Bolton left them nine points adrift of Rotherham in the all-important 21st place. Unperturbed, the Lions have sold out their allocation and will do their bit to make Brentford's afternoon as uncomfortable as possible.  (Championship, Saturday 14 March, 1pm. Ticket info)

4. The Football League Trophy Final - up at Wembley we've got the second cup final of the season. If you don't know, this is a knockout competition for clubs in League One and League Two and this year it's Bristol City and Walsall who've made it. The Robins are currently runaway leaders of the third tier so you'd expect them to start as favourites. The Saddlers are in lower midtable and have only won one of their last seven league games but will take confidence from the fact that they held City to a 1-1 draw when they last met. Around 70,000 tickets have been sold so far so it looks set to be a big occasion. There are still some tickets left on general sale, mainly in the Walsall end, so don't miss out on your chance of attending a Wembley final.  (Football League Trophy Final, Sunday 22 March, 330pm. Tickets are available directly from the clubs: Bristol City, Walsall)

5. Leyton Orient v Barnsley - if you want some more run of the mill League One action then we've got a game between sides who need the points for differing reasons. The O's won their crucial match against bottom club Yeovil on Saturday as their fight against relegation got back on track. With three wins from five, they've given themselves a real chance of staying up. However, on Tuesday they welcome an impressive looking Barnsley side who moved into the top six with a 3-1 win over Oldham. That win was their sixth on the bounce so Orient are going to have to raise their game another notch to be able to compete. (League One, Tuesday 17 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth - how are the might fallen. On Saturday we've got a League Two encounter between two clubs who have won the FA Cup during my lifetime. The Dons famously overcame Liverpool in 1988 while Pompey have won it twice in 1939 and 2008. Both have suffered considerable trauma in the intervening years, which I won't go into here, but they now find themselves a point and place apart in England's fourth tier. Wimbledon have enjoyed the upper hand over the last season and half and won 2-0 at Fratton Park on Boxing Day. Unsurprisingly, a big crowd is expected so tickets won't be going on general sale. (League Two, Saturday 21 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Barnet v Welling United - it was a great weekend for both these TLFG sides as they recorded vital away wins. The Bees' success at fellow promotion hopefuls Eastleigh saw them reclaim top spot from Bristol Rovers who failed to win for the second game running. The Wings, toiling at the other end of the table, under new caretaker boss Loui Fazakerly netted a fine 2-0 win at Lincoln City to keep them in with a chance of avoiding the drop. These derby games tend to be quite tight affairs but Barnet are definitely favourites. (Conference National, Saturday 21 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Wealdstone v Boreham Wood - the Wood managed to match leaders Bromley's result on Saturday meaning they're still just a point behind in second. Given the Ravens face both of the bottom two at home this week, that lead is likely to be extended whatever Boreham Wood achieve. On Saturday they face a short but awkward trip to local rivals Wealdstone whose vocal supporters should create a tough atmosphere in which to try and win. After climbing well away from the relegation zone, the Stones have had a horrible couple of games which have seen them ship seven goals. They should be well up for this one though. Game on! (Conference South, Saturday 21 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Dulwich Hamlet v East Thurrock United - despite being a seventh-tier team, Dulwich are making most of the non-league headlines in London this year. Although decent on the pitch, it's their off-field activities that create most news. Whether it's mammoth crowds on Non-League Day (c.3,000), championing the anti-racist, anti-homophobia and anti-sexist causes in football, collecting for foodbanks or for simply creating arguably the best day out in the game at any level it's been quite a season. They've been occupying a play-off place for most of the campaign but they've suddenly hit a sticky patch. Without a win in five, they face a testing game against another side looking to make the play-offs. Crowds are the highest they've been for years so arrive early as there's bound to be a queue. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 21 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Chelsea U18 v Tottenham Hotspur U18 - if you want a bargain bucket trip to Stamford Bridge then this is the game for you. It's FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg time so it's a huge moment for the youngsters involved. The Blues have dominated this tournament in recent seasons but have their work cut out after losing the first leg 2-0. Adult tickets are only £5 but must be booked by 4pm on the day of the match - no tickets will be on sale on the turnstiles. (FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg, Wednesday 18 March, 7pm. Ticket info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

TLFG: 9-15 March 2015

After managing to do the 'parkrun/trip to football' double last weekend, I only went and pulled it off again this time too!

Not only this but I got my wife and daughter (in a buggy) plus a number of my wife's friends and kids to have a run/walk too as we tried out the new event in Cassiobury Park in Watford. It's an excellent largely flat course and potentially pretty quick so give it a go.

I then took some of the aforementioned kids with me to watch QPR v Spurs later in the afternoon back in Shepherd's Bush.

Like the match against Arsenal in midweek which I also went to, Rangers started well but didn't take their chances and ended up chasing a 2-0 deficit with 20-30 minutes to go.

In both QPR did fightback and get a goal but then failed to find the all-important equaliser and lose 2-1.

TLFG reader Gary paid a visit to the Boleyn Ground and sent in this picture

Given how well my beloved side competed against supposedly superior teams it was a shame they got nothing.

The Tottenham game also offered a great chance to compare the two English strikers who are currently scoring for fun and looking to break into the national side.

Despite being a Rangers supporter and huge fan of Charlie Austin, I genuinely believe Harry Kane is a better and more polished prospect.

Austin is rugged and all about power - perhaps too much at times as his shot which almost knocked the goal down when he slammed it against the bar from point-blank range demonstrated.

Kane appears more versatile, has greater mobility and seems like a more 'international' player. He also scored both of the visitors' goals.

Austin's highlight actually came from his defensive work where he tracked back to block an initial cross-shot and then recovered to stop the rebound on the goal line. It was a stunning bit of play that any top defender would've been proud of let alone one of the best centre-forwards in the country. This is a regular part of his game and shows what a great team player he is.

This week it was also good to hear from TLFG reader Gary from Cheshire who was down in London on business and joined some season-ticket holding friends for the West Ham v Chelsea derby game on Wednesday which the Blues won 1-0. He sent in some photos so thanks a lot Gary, much appreciated.

THE FA TROPHY FINAL

If you didn't already know, the Non-League Day team are trying to promote an important match which is coming up at Wembley.

If you missed it, we're trying to create a big non-league get-together at the country's national stadium on Sunday 29 March for the FA Trophy Final - effectively the non-league cup final.

It coincides with the next international break and with it being on the Sunday, aside from a match at Fleetwood Town up near Blackpool, there won't be any Premier League or Football League action alongside it. Also, there will be virtually nothing happening lower down the pyramid either so I heartily invite you to join us.

The record crowd since the competition began in 1969 is 53,262 which was achieved back in 2007 shortly after the 'new' Wembley opened and getting anywhere near that will be a huge challenge.

This year's final will see North Ferriby United play Wrexham.

Very well done to the aptly named Villagers from the Conference North. They come quite literally from a village near Hull with a population of only 3,893 (2011 Census) so filling Wembley might be tough.

I'm hoping the Dragons will bring a few though. They were a League One side not all that long ago so it will be a real David v Goliath contest which I'm looking forward to. 

Sadly the early-bird deadline for cheaper tickets has passed so tickets now cost:

Adults: £30
Senior citizens/Students: £20
U16s: £10

However, these prices drop significantly if you bring a group of 15 or more:

Adults: £15
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £5

Personally I think these are fair prices, given it's a Wembley cup final. If you're visiting London and want to see a game at one of the best and most famous football stadiums in the world then you won't get a much better chance than this. Hope to see you there.

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Paris St Germain - it's not hard to see why this big cross channel Champions League tie tops the list this week. With the competition down to its last 16, two of the richest sides in the world meet at Stamford Bridge for the second leg of this tie. After drawing 1-1 in the French capital a couple of weeks ago, it's all to play for on Wednesday night. They also met in this last season where only away goals after a 3-3 aggregate score saw Chelsea progress. It could well come down to that again. (Champions League, Wednesday 11 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Arsenal v West Ham United - elsewhere we've got some great derbies to look forward to too. The Gunners are really building momentum at the moment winning seven of their last eight league games to move up to third. This is in stark contrast to the Hammers who started the season superbly but have since slipped badly, picking up only one victory since Christmas.The north London club have won their last nine games in all competitions against the East End's finest and that run looks likely to be extended on Saturday. Home areas for this game are sold out but West Ham's website suggests tickets in their section might still be available. (Premier League, Saturday 14 March, 3pm. Home ticket info)

3. Crystal Palace v Queens Park Rangers - earlier in the day down in SE25 we have London derby number two as my beloved QPR take their relegation fight to the Eagles. These two are similar size clubs and it is therefore of great credit to the powers that be at Palace that they seem to be establishing themselves as a solid midtable Premier League side following their promotion in 2013. They comfortably avoided the drop last season and should do again this time round. Rangers, despite potentially much bigger finances, haven't come close to doing this in their three most recent seasons in the top flight and should try and emulate the Palace model. It ended 0-0 at Loftus Road in December and was a turgid affair but the teams have both improved since then. Tickets for Selhurst Park in the home sections require membership but some are still available on general sale in the away section so contact QPR. (Premier League, Saturday 14 March, 1245pm. Home ticket info)

4. Watford v Reading - in the Championship, two of QPR's other traditional rivals who also yo-yo between the top two divisions meet on Saturday. It's been eight years since the Hornets last competed at the top level but they've got a huge chance of getting back up this time. The division was already tight but after this weekend's results there are now four teams tied for top spot and Watford are one of them. Of that quartet, they are the ones in the best form so it's looking good. Since getting relegated with QPR two years ago, the Royals have struggled and are 18th at the time of writing. Although they will start as underdogs, the Berkshire club are unbeaten on their last three visits to this part of the world so could dig in and frustrate.  (Championship, Saturday 14 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Yeovil Town - the struggling O's looked to be mounting a bit of a fightback this time last week but unsurprising back-to-back defeats against promotion contenders Bristol City and Peterborough United have halted their advance. However, they have a huge match against fellow strugglers Yeovil to prepare for on Saturday. Four go down in this division and only three points separate the bottom five so winning this will be crucial for both. Orient can take confidence from the fact they won 3-0 at Huish Park in December, one of the best performances of their season. (League One, Saturday 14 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United - the Daggers have had a great week, notching wins over fellow strugglers Hartlepool and Tranmere in the space of four days. These results have moved them nine points clear of the relegation zone and given them some breathing space. Next up they welcome the Shrimpers for an Essex derby. Phil Brown's side are fourth, just outside the automatic promotion places and will present a stiff test but Dagenham are undefeated in four against their county rivals so shouldn't be overawed.  (League Two, Saturday 14 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Boreham Wood v Whitehawk - the Conference South title race took another twist on Saturday as leaders Bromley lost to fellow Kent club Ebbsfleet while second placed Boreham Wood picked up a 1-0 win at Maidenhead to cut the gap to just a point. The Wood's next league match sees them welcome Whitehawk who still have title ambitions of their own with eight games to go. It's notable that both clubs are in the top four despite averaging crowds of below 300. The hosts are known to be well run financially while the Sussex outfit have an owner who has invested heavily. How either would survive in the Conference National against much bigger clubs, some who attract 10 times as many fans, is hard to imagine. (Conference South, Saturday 14 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Hendon v Margate - on Wednesday night two of the Isthmian's top four meet in the semi-final of the league cup. Being two points ahead and on a great run of results, the visitors would've probably started as favourites but a 3-0 home defeat to Enfield Town on Saturday has made them look vulnerable. The Greens are unbeaten in seven and beat Margate 3-2 in the league game at Earlsmead back in October so they've got a great chance. If I was Hendon boss I'd really commit to winning this. Margate are a much bigger club and hence better equipped for promotion - this again could add to their vulnerability as their eyes could be on another prize. (Isthmian League Cup semi-final, Wednesday 11 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Northwood v Uxbridge - I love it when clubs try to do something a bit special to get extra people in and this week it's Northwood who are going the extra mile. The Southern League club are holding a community day on Saturday and are running a 'Pay What You Can' promotion as well as a number of other supplementary events so please take them up on their offer as I may well do. The match itself should be a good one. It's a local derby and the teams are only a place in a part in the table. If you live in Northwood, Ruislip, Harrow or Watford then this could be a fine way to spend your afternoon. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 14 March, 3pm. Club info)

10. Molesey v Cove - at the time of writing, the Moles are fifth some 12 points adrift of Combined Counties League leaders Cove. Strangely though, this could almost act as title decider between the two clubs. As mentioned, Cove are well clear at the top but Molesey have six games in hand so could surpass them by some distance if they win them. The Hampshire club won the reverse fixture 2-1 in September and are in better form at the present time so are still very much the team to beat. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Tuesday 10 March, 745pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

TLFG: 2-8 March 2015

For the first time in a long while I managed to do the double - take part in a parkrun and go to a match on the same day.

The trade off was babysitting for the whole of Sunday. It was a deal I took very little time to think about.

My run had a football theme to it this week as I ventured a couple of miles south to the leafy banks of the Thames and Bishops Park. For non-locals, this is right next to Fulham's Craven Cottage ground and the run takes you along the back of the Putney End.

With that done, I prepared for my afternoon entertainment which for once saw me take my own advice and head off to a game in TLFG's Top 10.

At long last I made my first visit to Park View Road the home of Welling United. However, it wasn't them I watched but groundsharers Erith & Belvedere who had a huge cup match against North Shields.

The cup in question was the FA Vase which had reached its quarter-final stage. This meant the teams were only two rounds from a very memorable trip to Wembley.

With leagues regionalised at this level, clubs like these would never play each other without the Vase so it was a big deal in every sense.

For overseas readers, North Shields is in the north-east near Newcastle. Consequently their players and fans would need to make a 500+ mile round trip to take part.

The opening exchanges were cagey and the first half ended goalless with few great chances for either.

Things opened up a bit for the visitors after the interval and two goals before the hour mark put them in total control. Two or three shots from distance late on were the best the Deres could really muster and they duly bowed out.

North Shields celebrate victory with their fans
As the only TLFG club left in, it would've been great to see them progress but it sadly wasn't to be.

Of the 503 crowd, the visitors must have brought about 150-200 but were by far the more vocal and created all the atmosphere. Their team played well and deserved a place in the semi-finals.

But before the Vase final, the Non-League Day team are still trying to promote another important day at Wembley.

If you missed it, we're trying to create a big non-league get-together at the country's national stadium on Sunday 29 March for the FA Trophy Final - effectively the non-league cup final.

It coincides with the next international break and with it being on the Sunday, aside from a match at Fleetwood Town up near Blackpool, there won't be any Premier League or Football League action alongside it. Also, there will be virtually nothing happening lower down the pyramid either so I heartily invite you to join us.

The record crowd since the competition began in 1969 is 53,262 which was achieved back in 2007 shortly after the 'new' Wembley opened and getting anywhere near that will be a huge challenge.

This year's final will see North Ferriby United play Wrexham.

Very well done to the aptly named Villagers from the Conference North. They come quite literally from a village near Hull with a population of only 3,893 (2011 Census) so filling Wembley might be tough.

I'm hoping the Dragons will bring a few though. They were a League One side not all that long ago so it will be a real David v Goliath contest which I'm looking forward to. 

Don't forget that the early bird deadline is this Wednesday 4 March so don't hang about or the prices will go up. Early bird prices are as follows:

Adults: £20
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £7.50

If you buy 15 or more tickets you'll qualify for group rates (there is no deadline for this):

Adults: £15
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £5

Personally I think these are very fair prices, given it's a Wembley cup final. If you're visiting London and want to see a game at one of the best and most famous football stadiums in the world then you won't get a much better chance than this. Hope to see you there.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. West Ham United v Chelsea - just three days after winning the League Cup at Wembley, the Blues travel to Upton Park to face the Hammers. The rivalry between these two from opposite sides of the capital is fairly intense. However, the east Londoners have a pretty poor record against the Stamford Bridge outfit and appear to be running out of steam. Winless in five in the league, Sam Allardyce's side come into this on the back of a comprehensive 3-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace who played the last 20-odd minutes with 10 men. Chelsea are five points clear at the top and start as big favourites. (Premier League, Wednesday 4 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Queens Park Rangers v Arsenal - there are some big derbies in London this week and QPR have two in three days against the north London clubs. First up are the Gunners who have, ominously, run into some good league form. Putting aside their Champions League humbling by Monaco, Arsene Wenger's team have won six of their last seven Premier League matches and now look capable of catching second placed Manchester City. Rangers are just above the relegation zone and usually lose but always push Arsenal hard with the winning margin never more than one goal on the last five occasions. (Premier League, Wednesday 4 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Watford v Fulham - two more TLFG teams lock horns, no pun intended, on Tuesday night up at Vicarage Road. Watford have collected 15 points from their last six games to move up to fourth, only three points off top club Derby in what has become an incredibly tight division. The reason they are so close is partly down to the Cottagers' shock 2-0 win over the leaders on Saturday. Having already been thrashed on two previous occasions this season, Kit Symons' side did tremendously well to overturn the Rams and move eight points clear of the bottom three. They'll have to stay focused against the Hornets, though, as they lost the reverse fixture 5-0 shortly before Christmas. (Championship, Tuesday 3 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Leyton Orient v Bristol City - the O's looked like a lost cause a couple of weeks ago but suddenly it's all changed. Cramming in four games since then, the east London club have won three of them to climb to within a point of safety. On Tuesday night that could all end when the league leaders come to town. The Robins aren't in exceptional form at the moment but are eight points clear after squeaking past midtable Rochdale on Saturday. They shouldn't be complacent here either as Orient managed to hold them to a 0-0 draw at Ashton Gate back in August. (League One, Tuesday 3 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v Southend United - the Dons have had a good season and keep threatening to mount a play-off bid only to throw it away with a silly result or two. The latest aberration came at bottom club Hartlepool on Saturday where they lost 1-0. This result left them eight points short of a place in the top seven which will be tough to bridge. However, Southend are in that leading group so if they can beat them it should reignite their hopes. (League Two, Tuesday 3 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Barnet v Forest Green Rovers - having been top pretty much all season it must have been really disappointing for Bees fans to see their team fritter away a sizeable lead and get caught by Bristol Rovers last week. Wins for both this weekend meant the status quo was maintained with the West Country side two points ahead. This week's challenge comes in the form of another team from way out west who look similarly impressive. With a record equal to that of the leaders over the last 10 games, Forest Green have earned a place in the top five but have to keep winning as they have played more games then all those around them. Barnet have won their last five against Forest Green so will still fancy their chances. (Conference National, Saturday 7 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Sutton United v Hayes & Yeading United - there are perhaps bigger games in the division this week but this will probably get the biggest crowd. Sutton are one of the larger non-league sides in London and usually challenge for promotion but this season has been a disappointment. They are thankfully on the up and shouldn't have to worry about relegation. Hayes and Yeading, however, will. A former Conference National side, H&Y should feature in this blog but don't have a ground of their own and have been playing at Woking and Maidenhead United's grounds over the last few seasons instead. Consequently they're struggling for support and are now just one point above the relegation zone - something that saw the club part company with manager Phil Babb last week. So why will this get such a monster crowd? Well it's 'Pay What You Want' day at Gander Green Lane. The U's always put on some good supplementary activities to make the day even better - comedian Tim Vine is the star turn this time. (Conference South, Saturday 7 March, 3pm. Ticket info: Pay What You Want)

8. Metropolitan Police v Wingate & Finchley - in contrast to the previous game, this may not get the biggest crowd in the Isthmian League this week but it should produce a good game. The fact that these two are among the smallest clubs in the division but are still well in the hunt for a play-off place is testament to the skills of the management teams in place. To make it to the 'post-season' you need to finish in the top five. The Met have fifth spot at the moment but Wingate are just a point behind and want to take it off them - the stage is set... (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 7 March, 3pm. Club info)

9. Sun Sports v AFC Dunstable - the big games are coming thick and fast at the top of the Spartan South Midlands League at the moment. On Saturday Sun Sports picked up a very tidy 2-0 win at title rivals and near neighbours Harefield to end the weekend in fourth. Realistically, though, it's all about Kings Langley at the moment. They are top and have three or more games in hand on all their challengers. The closest of these are Dunstable who are just one point behind but have played four games more. Simply put, both sides have to win to have any chance of the title. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, Saturday 7 March, 3pm. Club info)

10. Tottenham Hotspur U18s v Chelsea U18s - I don't often put youth or reserve games in this section but this one is quite a big deal. On Thursday night these two will contest the first leg of this season's FA Youth Cup semi-final. With it being a big occasion, the match is being played at White Hart Lane to showcase the youngsters' talents. Chelsea have been to the last three finals, winning two of them so should be favourites here. Several thousand fans are expected and with tickets at only £5 for adults it's no surprise. The club strongly advise you to book in advance if you want to go. (FA Youth Cup semi-final first leg, Thursday 5 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

TLFG: 23 February - 1 March 2015

After last week's rather abridged version, I'm happy to say normal service is resumed this time so thanks for sticking with me.

After a restful trip to Ireland, I returned to Blighty in time for the Non-League Day team's next meeting with the FA at Wembley.

If you missed it, we're trying to create a big non-league get-together at the country's national stadium on Sunday 29 March for the FA Trophy Final - effectively the non-league cup final.

It coincides with the next international break and with it being on the Sunday, aside from a match at Fleetwood Town up near Blackpool, there won't be any Premier League or Football League action alongside it. Also, there will be virtually nothing happening lower down the pyramid either so I heartily invite you to join us in north-west London that afternoon.

The record crowd since the competition began in 1969 is 53,262 which was achieved back in 2007 shortly after the 'new' Wembley opened. It'll be a huge challenge to beat it and officially we're not trying to but to get close would be special and send out a strong message to the wider football community.

If you buy before the 4 March then you will qualify for early bird prices of:

Adults: £20
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £7.50

If you buy 15 or more tickets then you'll qualify for group rates (there is no deadline for this):

Adults: £15
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £5

Personally I think these are very fair prices, given it's a Wembley cup final. If you're visiting London and want to see a game at one of the best and most famous football stadiums in the world then you won't get a much better chance than this.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
Saturday saw the playing of the semi-final first legs so we still don't know who will be entertaining you yet. We do know, however, that it will be Bath City/North Ferriby United v Wrexham/Torquay United.

IN OTHER NEWS

Aside from this I did manage to grab a bit of live football action too. 

Regular readers will know that I face a bit of a Dad dilemma on Saturdays. My perfect day sees me take part in a parkrun in the morning and go to a match in the afternoon.

Recently it's becoming the case that I have to choose as childcare commitments have come into play.

This weekend I tried out the fine Burgess parkrun in Camberwell, posting one of my best times for months in the process. I then ran back to Shepherd's Bush to give some company to a friend who is training for the Stockholm Marathon.

With my wife having already shifted a hair appointment in order for me to do this, my match-watching hopes were pretty slim.

Then it came to me that Middlesex County Football League games often happen at weird and wonderful locations not too far from where I live but getting the details can be tricky.

After a bit of research I found that there was indeed a game taking place in the plush surrounds of Holland Park.

Said park lies within Kensington & Chelsea, the most expensive borough to buy property in throughout the UK - the average price is around £2m. 

It was quite weird pushing my daughter's buggy over a muddy playing field overlooked by multi-million pound houses to watch her first ever live match but here we found ourselves.

MCFL action on probably the most valuable sloping pitch in the world 
On offer was a game between the all-Japanese side J-Gaia and east Londoners Mile End Park Rangers in a Division One (Central & East) game. After a bit of arithmetic, I calculated that this was a Step 8 or 12th tier fixture.

With many far more senior sides in the London area calling off their matches because of waterlogged pitches, it was a miracle that this game had survived but it had and the two teams battled gamely in the boggy conditions.

With half-time looming, my two-year-old had seen enough and covered in mud herself after a game involving a stick, puddle and lots of stamping we decided to head off. It was 0-0 at this point but it hadn't been dull. Eventually J-Gaia prevailed 2-0.

The Middlesex County Football League always seems to throw up some decent games and is often free to watch. If you're a hopeless football addict or hardened groundhopper then see what's on near you, there might be a side on your doorstep. 


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - this weekend it's League Cup Final time. The first big trophy of the season is up for grabs at Wembley and it's between two big London clubs. After Arsenal, Spurs' biggest rivals are probably Chelsea so the atmosphere should be great. This will also be a repeat of the 2008 final where the north London side, managed by Juande Ramos, came from behind to cause an upset and win 2-1 after extra-time. Once again, Chelsea will start as big favourites but neither will be travelling to the national stadium on the back of good results so it could go the distance again. (League Cup Final, Sunday 1 March, 4pm. Ticket info: SOLD OUT)

2. Arsenal v AS Monaco - with the group stage finishing in December, the Champions League now starts to get serious as the two-legged knockout rounds begin. The first batch of matches took place last week and now it is the Gunners' turn to try and make progress. Thirteen points was only enough for second place in their group but was actually more than Monaco managed in winning theirs which wasn't actually that strong. The French League side are also well off title pace domestically too so Arsene Wenger's side should feel confident. (Champions League, Wednesday 25 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v Crystal Palace - back in the Premier League we have another tasty looking London derby to look forward to on Saturday. After being robbed of victory by a very late penalty at Spurs on Sunday both the Hammers and Eagles will feel disappointed coming into a new week. The south-east Londoners came unstuck against Arsenal and have now only won one in four but shouldn't lack motivation ahead of this one. Although beaten in the reverse fixture 3-1 back in August, Palace have an excellent record against West Ham losing only three times against them over the last 20 years. (Premier League, Saturday 28 February, 1245pm. Ticket info)

4. Fulham v Derby County - at Craven Cottage we've got a game which affects both ends of the Championship table. After dropping out of the Premier League, Fulham have found life tough. They made a dreadful start and replaced their manager which had the desired effect as they climbed towards midtable safety. However, things are starting to reverse and, without a win in five, they sit just five points above the relegation zone. The Rams, on the other hand, are currently top and will be many neutrals' favourites to go up after being very unluckily defeated in last season's play-off final. It really doesn't look too good for the Cottagers when you also consider the sides have met twice already this season, in the league and cup, and the Rams scored five on each occasion. (Championship, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Charlton Athletic v Huddersfield Town - to be fair, there's nothing hugely noteworthy about this game from a football point of view. Both sides are trundling along in midtable, locked together on 39 points from 32 games. The main reason this is notable is because Charlton are running their 'Football For A Fiver' promotion, meaning that all tickets for the match are just £5. If you're visiting London and want to see a live match but don't want to spend big bucks then this is a fantastic option. I would also advise booking in advance just to make sure you get a ticket. (Championship, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Boreham Wood v Havant & Waterlooville - there seem to have been a lot of big matches in the Conference South of late and here we have another one. A couple of weeks ago, The Wood looked like they might be starting to lose their grip on top spot after back-to-back defeats against two of their promotion rivals. Bromley were breathing down their necks and with three games in hand, still are. However, they have now gone unbeaten in three and are still right up there following their 4-1 trouncing of Weston-Super-Mare on a day trip to the seaside. Next they welcome Havant, a talented top-five side with an outside chance of mounting a title challenge of their own. H&W edged to a 2-1 win last time out so it should be close. (Conference South, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Kingstonian v Margate - the race for promotion is getting deliciously tight in the Isthmian League's top division. Following a big cash injection, Margate have become one of the big boys and are consequently the only realistic challengers to leaders Maidstone. If they don't catch them then a play-off spot is looking almost certain. Two other places will probably go to Dulwich and Hendon, given the latter's games in hand, meaning there is only one other place up for grabs. At the time of writing, the next five clubs are within two points of each other. Kingstonian are one of these sides and seem to be building a bit of momentum after recent wins over Leiston and Wingate & Finchley who are also in that group. A win over Margate would be a huge statement of intent but with two defeats in league and cup competitions against them so far this season, it's going to be a tough ask. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Walton & Hersham v Burgess Hill Town - the visiting Hillians have been making headlines as one of the toughest teams to beat in the country this season. Unbeaten in 31 league games, they are unsurprisingly seven points clear at the top of the Isthmian League Division 1 South with four games in hand. The Swans are having an unspectacular season in midtable but almost did the unthinkable in the reverse fixture less than two weeks ago. Amazingly 2-0 up at the interval, it looked like they might be the team to end that run but it wasn't to be as they eventually found themselves hanging on for a still impressive 2-2 draw. Burgess Hill do have another game before this, but could W&H go one better this time? Be there and find out. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Club info)

9. Erith & Belvedere v North Shields - to many non-league fans this is arguably the match of the week. South-east Londoners E&B have had a great season after the disappointment of relegation from the Isthmian League. Still in with an outside chance of the Southern Counties East League title, they have also made it to the FA Vase quarter-finals where they have crucially landed a home tie. The Vase is a national cup competition for teams who primarily play in the ninth and tenth tiers of the English league system with its final at Wembley. For the last six years, the final has been won by or featured sides from the Northern League. This is made up largely of sides in the north-east of England in the region around Newcastle and Sunderland. North Shields are also from this league and are currently third. In the last round they saw off E&B's big local rivals Phoenix Sports 4-1 so it looks like they will start as favourites. However, the well over 500-mile round trip could be a leveller. (FA Vase quarter-final, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Harefield United v Sun Sports - mention was made earlier of how 'deliciously tight' things were in the Isthmian League, well the same could be said for the title race in the Spartan South Midlands League. Given the varying amount of games played by each, any of the top five could win it. Harefield and Sun Sports, two of our local sides, are part of this pack and they clash at Preston Park on Saturday. Although Sun Sports currently trail Harefield by four points, they do have three games in hand. Many would see them as favourites, however, they lost comfortably in December when they last played and the Hare have won their last four so should be formidable opponents. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 14 February, 2pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

TLFG 16-22 February 2015

It's a real rush job from me this week I'm afraid as I'm just about to dash off to the airport for a few days in Ireland so it really is the match map and very little else I'm afraid.

I promised some big news about Non-League Day (NLD) last week and I have some. Briefly, we're partnering with The Football Association to try and turn the FA Trophy Final into a big non-league get together on Sunday 29 March.

Like NLD it takes place on an international break and rather than get everyone to go to lots of different clubs around the country, we want to try and get as many people from the football community to meet up at Wembley instead and enjoy what is arguably the most prestigious game in non-league football.

It's going to be a big challenge but with tickets fairly priced (from £15 adults, £5 kids) we've got a chance.

We are also running a non-league photography competition with the winners in junior and adult categories getting their pictures published in the programme and on Wembley's big screens and they will of course win match tickets too.

All the info can be found here on our website. Tickets go on sale from the FA website on Monday 16 February.

Right, got to get to the airport. Enjoy your week and hope to see you at Wembley!

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.