Well, where to begin? I first met Declan on Neoseeker. I was very new to the idea of fora (yes, it's fora and not forums, kids) and I wasn't aware what was proper conduct and what wasn't. At the time I was playing a long term save with Tottenham on the PSP. My main striker, Romelu Lukaku, had retired early due to injury. I, of course, was thinking 'what a rip-off, what is this sh**'. In desperation I googled what happend and ended up on two fora: Neoseeker and the SI community. Being the young, impatient me, I asked my questions in both places. Declan, being extremely active in both places, noticed and called me out on it. That was my first encounter with Decie Boy and from the first moment I hated his guts.
In time, I got to know him a bit better. Turnes out that he's simply very enthusiastic of this game and that he has a tendency to dislike any improper forum conduct. Sounds familiar?
This was around the time that some forum named FMHaven had crashed and burned. Not long after, there was talk of a new FMH forum. I can't exactly recall what it was called, but I don't think it was called Vibe at the time. I went there, made something of a name for myself and made some friends. After about a year of that, Declan announced that the site would be merging with a FM-based society. I can't remember that name either, but it was another complete flop. Promises weren't kept and the FMH section soon disappeared into the background.
Declan, ambitious as he was, grew once again frustrated and decided to make another attempt at creating a home for FMH. Vibe was created and, to my own immense surprise, I was asked to join the staff team, alongside Ollie, Franco, Niall, Patrick and some others who didn't last long. We were quite the team of mods, if I may be so forward.
Contrary to what you may all think, given how old he is and how much time he spends on here, Ashez was part of a later generation. He came after William even, perhaps around the time that Graveluth turned up here. I've had many friend and collaborators on here, come to think of it.
Niall was the first to go. Then followed Patrick, Ollie, William, Rafa and even Ashez. I myself have been a mod on here twice - my second stint was a mistake. But now that Declan is leaving, it really feels like the end of an era. I know I said this when Ashez left the mods team, but the Declan Era has literally spanned a whole decade. Declan and I have been here from the beginning, making jokes, bickering at times, making podcasts with crazy renditions of the Potter Puppet Pals at other times.
This site has been a big part of my life for a significant period of my life. I feel like this week I've lost something. Some part of myself that would always be sure that if I came here, I'd find at least one or two familiar faces I could count on. While I like the lads that are present at this time, people like Taff, Prize, BatiGoal (people who've been here for a while now), they'll never truly understand the history of this place. New members will never know what it took for Vibe to be what it is today. So for me, a part of Vibe has died with Dec's departure, and it makes me a bit sad.
But you don't have to know its history to know what a great place this is. To me, Vibe will always be more - always has been more - than a place where people play a game together and tell each other about it. To me, this will always be the place where I will meet old pals and give them flack for failing epically to win the French competition with PSG.
I hope the current generation of members will carry on our great tradition and will continue to do their best to make Vibe more than a place for nerds who happen to like FMM. And on that note, I will end my ramblings. It may sound incoherent to some (well, to most probably since I didn't plan this story out at all and just went with whatever came into my head), but at least now there's some place where a brief history of Declan's legacy can be found.