2 home grounds
4 Head Coaches
1 Temporary Football Management Consultant
2 Cup semis and a final
4 trips to Wembley
109 different opponents
6 overseas trips
1 forum members’ wedding
3 (at least) funerals
2 lodgings at Her Majesty’s Pleasure
1 Hull City Association Football Club
Since Amber Nectar’s inception on Saturday 21st February 1998, it’s fair to say that we’ve done a bit and seen a bit.
But sadly, it’s coming to an end this Saturday, as we’re closing our virtual tavern for the final time.
AN was conceived of in January 1998 by Les and Andy (then 21 & 16), and made its debut as a paper fanzine at Boothferry Park the following month. It wasn’t very good, but we got better over the next few years, and by the time AN #15 was on sale outside the shiny new KC Stadium in January 2003 (our only non-Boothferry Park issue) we were hopefully close to being worthy successors to such publications as Hull, Hell & Happiness, Tiger Rag, On Cloud Seven and so many more.
Times were changing as the new millennium started. By the early 2000s the internet was growing in influence as connections increasingly sprang up at home and at work, and we decided to move exclusively online in Spring 2003. This meant tarting up the website that had been an accompaniment to the paper fanzine since late 1998, and making it our sole focus.
On the online revolution went, and we submitted to the lure of social media in 2011, joining Facebook and Twitter as new outlets for cuss-filled rants as they eventually took over the online space for discussion that forums used to provide.
Times changed some more, and we hitched onto the growing trend for podcasts in 2013. We’ve done over 200, and been honoured with guest appearances from fellow City fans and a healthy smattering of ex-City players. In 2017 we were thrilled to be nominated for the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Club Podcast of the Year award. When, at the subsequent posh do in London, we heard our name read out as the winner, our first thought was that we’ve overdone the free bar. Turns out that three grouchy blokes swearing in a spare room full of City shirts can do alright.
Times will keep changing. Already, City fans who weren’t born when we started are making a name for themselves: trying new things, taking on supporters’ roles, vlogging and so on. If you’re ever wondering whether to do something, to get involved, our advice is simple: do it. You won’t regret it. And that’ll ensure there’ll always be more to come by City fans, for City fans.
Only not from us.
21 years. It’s a long time; many times longer than we gave ourselves back on late-90s Bunkers, when paper fanzines blazed brightly for a few years and then folded. They’re gruelling work, after all. The internet and its greater ease of publication gave us a long lease of life, but not a permanent one.
As we pondered during a 20th anniversary rumination last year, we now have partners, kids, mortgages and grey hairs instead of youthful exuberance and an abundance of free time. We’re all just either side of 40 now. Fanzines, websites, podcasts, perhaps it’s all a young person’s game, and while young people aren’t welcome at City any more, they’ll always find a way of creeping in and making themselves heard.
We were around for a pretty remarkable period in City’s history, and as we looked back on our life and times last year, we’re proud of what we did. www.ambernectar.org offers, in our plainly biased view, just about the most comprehensive trove of fans’ views from this period. To help future City historians, the idly nostalgic or even the club themselves when they remember that history is a source of pride rather than shame, we plan to cease updating the site, but leave it online for as long as possible. That’ll cost: around £40 a month, which we plan to meet ourselves. One very last time though, if you fancy chucking in a few quid to keep our collective record of those years online and accessible to all, we’d be very grateful – you can do it HERE.
There are simply too many people for us to thank over the past two decades, and any attempt would be inevitably and unfairly inadequate. We’ll try a few though: our families, who tolerated this nonsense with remarkable forbearance. Steve Broadbent, indefatigable tech god for twenty years. JR, for TigerTube, occasional podcast appearances and pre-match games of darts. And…oh, you all know if you helped, whether it was selling or buying the paper fanzine, contributing online, writing something for us, chucking a fiver into the semi-regular appeals we’d make to keep us unfranchised and ad-free (and thus truly independent), arguing with us on Twitter, drinking with us at home, away and overseas – there’ll be hundreds and hundreds of people with whom we had contact great or small, and sincere thanks to you all.
We’re going to have one final podcast this Friday, a massively self-indulgent look back at the last 21 years. It’ll be broadcast live on Periscope at 7pm, and we’d love your company one last time.
Then, as we hope befits the way we always did things, we’re off to the pub – The Avenue, on Chanterlands Avenue, for around 8.30pm, and maybe even a curry and Piper, if our old bones are willing. Come drink with us, and talk about the past, present and future of one of the loves of all of our lives: the Hull City Association Football Club.
It’s been bloody brilliant fun. Cheers.
Les, Andy & Matt
Amber Nectar, the Hull City fanzine (1998-2019)