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10.WHAT HAPPENED TO...

Continuing our look at the whereabouts of former Chester players, this week we look at three players who have appeared for Rossendale United this season and a player who only played 21 minutes for Chester but is now playing in the Football League.

Matt WoodsMatt Woods (left) made more than 200 appearances in a Chester shirt between 1996 and 2001 including 135 (21 as a substitute) in the Football League. Originally a trainee with Everton Matt was signed by Kevin Ratcliffe at the start of the 1996/97 season and made his first appearance, as a substitute, in a Coca Cola Cup game at Carlisle United. Matt was mainly used as a central defender and was at his most effective when lining up alongside an experienced defender, like Andy Crosby, in the 1998/99 season. He could also play in midfield and was often moved up front when a bit of height was needed in the forward line. In Chester’s first season in the Conference he even started a handful of games in the number 9 shirt and scored in three successive games against Telford United, Boston United and Hayes. After being virtually ever-present between 1998 and 2001 it came as something of a surprise when he was released at the end of the 2000/01 season. During summer 2001 Matt joined Stalybridge Celtic where he played alongside another former City defender, Paul Beesley. Following Stalybridge’s relegation most of the players were released and Matt joined Rossendale United who are currently struggling at the wrong end of Unibond League Division One.

Also at Rossendale is a player who made one full, and two substitute appearances for Chester in the Conference last season. Gary Williams was signed on loan from Accrington Stanley by Steve Mungall in November 2001 and made a goalscoring debut in the Championship Shield game against Rushden and Diamonds which City lost on penalties. Gary played for Morecambe and Ashton United before his goalscoring exploits at Accrington prompted Doncaster to pay £60,000 for his services during the 1999/2000 season. At Doncaster Gary played alongside Jimmy Kelly and Kevin McIntyre but was unable to recapture his goalscoring form and returned to Accrington the following season. During the summer Gary moved from Accrington to Rossendale.

Brett BaxterThe third former City player to feature for Rossendale this season is Brett Baxter. Brett (pictured right) also came to Chester from Accrington Stanley, in October 2001, and made his debut alongside Steve Halford, Chris O’Brien and Mike O’Brien in the 3-0 defeat by Margate in what proved to be Gordon Hill’s last game in charge. He made one further appearance, as a substitute at Morecambe, but then found his appearances limited to the Lancashire League team where he started eight games and scored four goals. A midfielder, Brett started his career with Trafford’s youth team before spending a short period on Tranmere’s books in the late 1990s. Prior to joining Accrington he was with Ashton United.

Finally, Alex Higgins, made a brief appearance as a substitute for Gary Williams at Dover Athletic last season. A left-sided or central midfielder Alex started his career with Sheffield Wednesday before moving to QPR in March 2001. He made one first team appearance for the R’s and moved to Chester on a free transfer early the following season. Things failed to work out for Alex at the Deva and after leaving Chester he was on the books of Ilkeston Town, Stalybridge Celtic and Wakefield and Emley in the final months of last season. In October 2002 he joined Boston United on a free transfer and has played 13 League games for them so far this season.
Chas Sumner [Published 1/03/03]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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