Hard drives, hard win, hard cash…

First off, apologies for the lack of activity ’round these parts. Late last Saturday I switched on my PC to post a preview of the Liverpool game only to be presented with an ominous-looking error message. I didn’t panic at first because in recent years I’ve become somewhat obsessive about keeping regular backups of my primary hard drive. But, upon further investigation it became apparent that something borderline catastrophic had occured: according to a number of ‘rescue’ disks there was no longer any data on either my primary or backup drive. At this point I think I experienced what can only be descibed as shock: the thought of losing five years’ worth of personal and work data, including nearly ten thousand mp3s, left me reeling.

Sunday morning was spent staring at what I thought was a kaput PC wondering what on earth to do next. I must confess that I strongly considered missing the Liverpool game – which isn’t surprising I guess given that at this point I assumed I’d lost everything – but finally came to the conclusion that it would at least take my mind off things for a while. All I can say is that I’m very glad I didn’t miss it! More of that later.

To cut a very long story short, after increasingly desperate attempts at persuading either hard drive to boot into an operating system (I had both Windows Vista RC1 and Mac OS X installed on partitions on my backup drive, which in hindsight was a tad silly and no doubt contributed to the problem) I decided to bite the bullet and reformat my primary drive and reinstall Windows XP, then concentrate on attempting to recover the latest backup image from my second drive. At 5am yesterday morning I finally completed a full recovery using Runtime Software’s GetDataBack, to which I am eternally grateful. Some people believe football is more important than life and death; I’d like to suggest that hard drives are too.

Anyway, football. Sunday’s hard-fought victory over Liverpool was immensely gratifying, not because it was the Blues’ fifth successive Premiership win over Rafael Benitez’s increasingly goal-shy side, but because of the manner in which it was achieved. Didier Drogba’s 42nd minute goal, his fourth of the season, was nothing short of extraordinary; and then to hold that one-goal lead with ten men for the majority of the second half after Michael Ballack had been rightly sent off was sheer drama, all topped off by a great atmosphere. It was just what I needed at that moment in time. Rumours are circulating that Drogba is to be rewarded for his great start to the season with a much improved four-year contract.

Last night’s BBC Panorama exposé of the ‘bung’ culture in football left a lot to be desired. The BBC’s claims that the programme would ‘rock football’ were wide of the mark. Obviously it was interesting to see the ‘culprits’ in action, but any serious fan of the game knows that varying degrees of corruption keep the football wheels turning and I’d be very surprised if anything comes of the subsequent Football Association ‘investigation’ – although the results of Lord Stevens’ independent inquiry could ruffle a few feathers when they’re published on October 2nd.

A one-hour programme on corruption in football was certain to mention Chelsea FC and so it proved. Frank Arnesen was filmed discussing a 15 year-old Middlesbrough player with agent Peter Harrison, who it seems is going to be the fall guy in all this after Boro’s chairman Steve Gibson said that “many discussions go on between clubs and agents and I saw nothing unusual about the discussions with the agent and Chelsea … I didn’t see any great wrongdoing. [However] I am very disappointed with the action of that agent [Harrison]. I think football will deal with him and I hope they deal with him harshly.” Sam Allardyce, Harry Redknapp and Kevin Bond will more than likely escape punishment because there doesn’t appear to be any physical evidence of wrongdoing: no paper trail, no hard cash.