Incider editor, Huw Griffiths (aka edson) looks back on the last two years of The Incider and makes no excuses for a bit of navel staring…
So, here we are. The final Issue of The Incider is now complete and the end of a highly enjoyable period of our City-supporting lives is over. With that in mind, we'd like to take this opportunity to pen something of a retrospective, summarising how The Incider came to be, what went on behind the scenes and why we decided to bring it to a close.
I recall only too clearly how the first idea of an online City fanzine came about. I'd noticed that, while BCFC had an excellent printed fanzine in ‘One Team In Bristol', there was nothing of that nature online. Given that our club seemed to have an enormous internet community, I began to consider the idea of producing a web-based fanzine to serve those online fans.
At the time, I'd been on the Bristol City forum for just a few months, but I'd noticed that people seemed to ask Tom Ford (aka Tomarse), if they had computer problems. With that in mind, and being a total luddite myself, I contacted Tom to ask what was involved in setting up a website.
Having realised it was beyond my capabilities (i.e. it involved more than just switching the computer on) and having discussed the online fanzine idea with him, Tom kindly offered to do all the technical bits.
I then started to jot down a few ideas on how the website might look and the sort of ideas I could include in it. It was about then that I realised I only had about 6 decent ideas and they wouldn't be enough to sustain a fanzine, so I spoke to Tom about getting someone else involved to help with the content. Tom informed me that Brian (aka RedTop) was a journalist (it later turned out that this wasn't true. He works for The Sun), so would be useful in terms of helping with the editing, and that he posted in a similar style to me, so we might be compatible as a writing duo.
I contacted Brian via the forum and he was extremely keen (lamely claiming he'd had a similar idea himself), so we arranged an MSN meeting where the three of us would thrash out what format the fanzine would take, the layout, the content and, of course, the name…
Anyone who has ever set up their own website will know the agonies of finding a name that suits the site and that hasn't already been taken by the American porn industry. As I recall, the shortlist came down to ‘Red Shorts' (poor), ‘Ciderspace'(better) and ‘The Incider'. After a sleepless night, I woke at about 5 a.m. and had the idea that, by using ‘The Incider', we could use a logo of concentric circles, with the name emerging from the middle. I did a rough and sent it to Tom and Brian, and that was enough to convince us all that we should buy the .com and .co.uk domain names.
It was then a matter of sorting out the layout. This was Brian's forte and he sent a photocopy of how it should look to Tom, who set up the basic site for us to see and tweak (believe me, you can never do enough tweaking).
Eventually, we arrived at the layout as you see it today, which has barely changed since day one, suggesting Brian may have been right (I hate it when that happens). However, despite it being a fanzine, we felt it lacked something and really needed a headline item with a bit of punch to give it an extra edge, rather than just a series of joke articles. We had decided to sponsor Liam Rosenior for the 2002/03 season (mainly because he was one of the cheaper ones and it gave us a box advert in the matchday programme every week). With that in mind, we decided to approach the club about interviewing Liam and, very kindly, Danny Wilson agreed to let us speak to him.
That interview gave us that headline item we felt was missing and, from then on, we tried to get an interview with someone associated with Bristol City (past or present) whenever possible. The interviews were probably the most nerve-wracking bit for me, though the highlight was travelling to Victoria Station to meet Liam Rosenior and his agent after he had left the club to join Fulham. I came away feeling we'd got a real scoop and something that would be of genuine interest to all City fans. I listened to the interview on the train home, just to make sure I had it all on tape. Followed by constantly checking I hadn't pressed the ‘record' button accidentally in my bag and wiped it all.
So, that's pretty much how The Incider came to be. I have enjoyed being involved with the website immensely and am extremely proud of our achievements in producing something that may have added to the Bristol City online experience in some small way.
I am lucky to have met some wonderful people as a result of The Incider and have made friends that will be part of my life long after our website is but a distant, hazy memory for most people.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. In particular, Danny Wilson, for allowing us to speak to the players when he was in charge at the club. Brian Tinnion, for allowing that to continue. Steve Lansdown, for speaking to us on the day he took over as Chairman (he probably had better things to do). All the players and ex-City staff who took time to speak to us. And, of course, everyone who contributed letters, articles, jokes or photographs and made the whole thing feel worthwhile. Oh, and our respective partners, who have tolerated us working late into the night on our hobby. Thank you all.
So, it just remains for me to explain why we have decided to call it a day….
I have to admit, we were close to calling it quits over the summer. It has always been extremely difficult to find a time when all three of us can get online and fire ideas around and work on the new Issue (especially with Brian working in New York and being five hours behind us). However, this has become harder and harder to organise over recent months, as Brian has been extremely busy at work and with his studies. I always assumed that being a Sun journalist was a dossy job, but the truth is, it is almost a 24 hour job. Brian is rarely ever at home and his free time has become almost non-existent. This became increasingly apparent over the summer, and we discussed bringing The Incider to an end.
After lots of lengthy chats, we decided to try and keep going. Brian didn't have time to do much content, but I was prepared to try and pull in the slack and see how it went. So that's how we went about producing Issue 17.
However, despite being able to cope with the work involved, I found that the ideas were a lot harder to get enthusiastic about without someone else to bounce stuff off and, most importantly, I stopped enjoying it and found it a hard slog.
When we started The Incider, we set out a number of ‘rules' that would form the backbone of our philosophy when producing the fanzine: It would only ever be the three of us (if one left, we all left); our friendship would come before the website; the day we stopped enjoying it would be the day we stopped doing it (oh, and ‘always blame Tom', of course).
Clearly, Brian had nearly left, our friendship was becoming strained and I was no longer enjoying it. With so much working against our basic philosophy, it seemed the obvious time to call it quits. But we decided that we should produce a Farewell Issue to officially draw a line under The Incider (which you're reading now!).
So, there it is. A quick potted history of The Incider. On a personal note, I would like to thank Tom and Brian for making the fanzine such a pleasure, for all the hard work that they put in and, most of all, for their friendship.
Thank you all for your support and for making it feel like we were doing something worthwhile when we'd been up till 2 a.m. getting the thing online. I can't tell you how appreciative we truly are.
You've been a fantastic audience. Good bye!