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21 August 2010

Charlton 1 Oldham 1

I suppose everybody has things they'd change about football, to make it a better experience. One thing I'd change is I'd let free kicks for offside be direct. Offside kicks are always going to be in your own half of the pitch so if you're able to score from one you definitely deserve it. It would just stop refs having to run around with their hand in the air for a bit. I believe in being nice to referees, you see. Even the clowns in the third division.

Here's another thing I'd change. When highlights are shown on television, you should be given some idea of how much time has elapsed, how much is remaining. You really can't understand what's going on otherwise. If a team is resolutely defensive and wasting all the time they can, is it because there's only five minutes for them to hang on, or is because they're Oldham? (I know that's not fair - Oldham today were much more adventurous than last year's team, and it wouldn't have been surprising if they'd won.) But this struck me today because on the way to the match my phone decided it was exhausted. I don't have a watch, and the big screen's no longer working. So I didn't always know how much time was passing. Today's game, then, if not classic, was at least timeless.

The game wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. In the second half it became very open. Charlton were less organised than usual in defence, with Semedo and Dailly both suspended, but Miguel Llera put in a good performance. I'd have been happier if Solly had been playing.

One thing I wouldn't change, I think, is how offsides are decided. These days, it's almost entirely the lino's decision. He not only decides if the player is in an offside position, but also whether he's interfering with play. So this means he won't raise his flag until the offside player has done something that might take advantage of the position. So many of the crowd around me don't understand this, and have a go at the lino for being "slow". I think they still expect the lino to flag the offside position and the ref to decide if the player's actively involved. And that doesn't happen anymore.

The new season has brought a few new faces to the seats around me. The very old guy who used to sit next to me has gone somewhere else, and there's now a fairly young family group there. In front of me there's an amusingly angry man (who doesn't understand how offside decisions are made, for example). I hope I'll continue to find him amusing as the season progresses.

Having no phone meant I couldn't follow or make any tweets. Two years ago, that sentence wouldn't have made much sense. Now, twitter is a central part of my #cafc life. And I missed it more than the scoreboard!

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