Amber Nectar began life as a hardcopy fanzine and accompanying website in 1998. Since then, they've left behind the paper and switched their focus exclusively to the site, where they have become one of the most influential groups of Hull City supporters. I enjoy their writing and thought I'd see if they'd be willing to answer a few questions for us as Aston Villa travel to face a club with whom many of us are unfamiliar. Andy Dalton was happy to oblige:
7500 to Holte: Hull City have been performing much better in the early going than we'd expect of a newly promoted team. Has there been one thing you can point to that has led to this success?
Amber Nectar: Steve Bruce. He's travelled this path before, and when he tells his team they're good enough, they believe it. We believe it too, so we came up not filled with trepidation, but with quiet confidence.
75k: Robert Brady is the club's leading scorer - albeit with two of his three league goals on penalties - but he's not a name that's familiar to most fans, I would imagine. How would you describe his playing style?
AN: Robbie Brady had an undistinguished loan spell with City a couple of years ago, and seemed a spoiled, petulant and greedy player. When he came back for a second loan spell I was surprised...but not as much at his extraordinary transformation. He's quick, hard-working, skilful and composed (as those penalties suggest). He's already an Ireland international, and he's got a very good career in the Premier League ahead of him.
75k: Aston Villa will be without Christian Benteke, and who knows what the status of Gabby Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann will be. What are the weak spots in the Hull defense that our injured attack can exploit?
AN: James Chester isn't playing, and he - like Brady - is a richly talented product of the Manchester United youth system. He'll be missed, even if we have decent replacements. City are probably most vulnerable out wide. Against West Ham, Allardyce's collection of galoots managed to get a discomfiting quantity of crosses into our box, and that's not something you really want against anyone.
75k: This iteration of Hull are a relatively unknown team to many fans. If there's one thing you'd like everyone to know about your club, what would it be?
AN: We know that Hull City AFC aren't one of the big names, but like most clubs we have a long history that we take pride in. Regrettably our owner - who did rescue us for a Portsmouthesque fate - has recently decided that our actual name is insufficiently modern and wants to call us Hull Tigers. Sure, have a titter, we probably would at any other club, but as you can imagine it's no laughing matter. So if you see people handing out leaflets or badges before the ground, give them some encouragement. And if we start loudly singing "City Till I Die" after 19'04" in the first half, that's just because we were formed in 1904 as HCAFC and it's part of the ongoing campaign. We know minute #19 has resonance for Aston Villa too, so it's important to stress any prospective clash of noise isn't disrespect, it's part of our own continuing campaign.
75k: I notice that your site is for those who love both Hull City and beer. Do you have a recommended brew for those watching this weekend's match?
AN: There's a pub in Hull called Ye Olde White Hart. It dates back to 1550, serves Old Peculier (that is the correct spelling) and a pint of their finest in the beer garden there is something everyone should try.
75k: Finally, what we ask everyone we talk to: what's your prediction for the match?
AN: We're in good form and have prospered lately, admitted against sides who are likely to finish around us in the table. It'd be great to go into the international break with one more point and be unbeaten in four...but we may be due a setback. City 1-2 Villa.
Thanks to Andy for the responses! Be sure to swing by Amber Nectar and say hi!