Anyone who knows me well will know that I like to fly my colors close to my chest and am a proud Chelsea fan. I have supported them since they fell to and rose back from the English old Second Division as Champions under the then manager Bobby Campbell, and have seen highs and lows (mostly lows) for the next seven years. That is until Dutch legend Ruud Gullit became the manager in ’96 and bought perhaps the greatest player ever to grace the blue shirt of Chelsea FC.
In 1994, I religiously watched each and every match of USA World Cup and was dazzled by the talents of one Gianfranco Zola during the Nigeria vs Italy game. At one point in the match, Zola is wrestled from the ball and chases the defender back towards the touchline. He then performs a rather audacious stamp over the ball to gain back possession and the bemused and confused Nigerian player falls down in a faux crumpled heap. From that moment on I was a fan and recognized that moment of simple but effective (and persistent) brilliance. Sadly the referee did not share my admiration and duly sent him off in what has been recognized (by some) as one of the worst ever refereeing decisions during a World Cup.
Roll forward to ’96. I am driving up to Scotland with my wife and parents in tow when my dad announced that “I heard on the radio this morning that Chelsea had signed a new player”. In my ignorance, I said ironically “who? Gianfranco Zola?!”, to which he replied, “yes, I think so”. I thought it was all a big wind-up of course. My favorite team had signed my favorite player – sure thing!
But it was true, and Zola’s talents reached an even wider audience that they deserved and now nobody will ever quite come close to his greatness in my mind.
So what on earth have I rambled on about football for the last 5 minutes you might ask? What relevance does this have to SQL Server?
At the time I became aware of Zola’s brilliance in 1994, he was by then playing for Italian side Parma. I was myself getting more and more interested in Serie A and naturally, they (because of him) became my “Italian side”.
Therefore, to be selected to speak in the City at which my all-time footballing hero played has huge significance for me and is something I am immensely looking forward to. I will be delivering a new session titled “Persistence is Futile – Implementing Delayed Durability in SQL Server” which I find an incredibly interesting proposition in SQL Server -and one that is completely underused, and not widely understood.
So I look forward to speaking to the awesome Italian audience on something I am passionate about, and sincerely hope you can join me there!