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16.WHAT HAPPENED TO...

Continuing our look at the whereabouts of last seasons players:

Two former players who could be returning to the Deva Stadium later this month are Chris Blackburn and Lee Woodyatt. Both are currently with our local rivals Northwich Victoria and both developed through the youth ranks at the Deva Stadium. For Chris, the nephew of former City manager Alan Oakes, it proved a long trip as he made a quick diversion via America during the summer.

Chris BlackburnA strong, box to box midfielder Chris Blackburn (pic left) first played for the Lancashire League team back in 1997 and made his first team debut, as a substitute, at Rotherham in August 1999. That game proved to be one of Kevin Ratcliffe’s last in charge and Chris was one of a number of youngsters given a chance that day following the departure of several established players during the summer. Chris returned to the reserves for the rest of the 1999/2000 season but made his first City start in the opening Conference fixture, at Rushden and Diamonds, as Graham Barrow commendably gave the youngster the chance to make his mark. Chris’ first goal was scored at Morecambe in a 2-0 victory and he went on to make 70 league plus 13 substitute appearances for City. Although he only scored seven goals for the club, three of them came against his current club Northwich. At the start of the 2001/02 season Chris had a trial with Manchester City and played against Chester in a pre-season friendly at the Deva. He also played for the England semi-professional team against an Italian X1. Chris started last season in fine style when he scored a wonderfully well-taken goal in the 1-0 pre-season victory over Liverpool. That goal should have been a springboard for further success but Chris struggled with injury and left the club during the summer. In June 2003 he was playing for the Nevada Wonders of the USL Pro Select League based in Carson City USA. However he returned to this country the following month and signed for Northwich.

Lee WoodyattFormer Welsh Youth international Lee Woodyatt (pic right) first appeared in the youth team towards the end of the 1998/99 season and made his first team debut, as a substitute, in the 4-0 victory over Nuneaton in September 2000. Over the next three seasons he made 32 league starts plus 14 substitute appearances and scored two goals, at Telford and Nuneaton, in 2001/02. At the end of that season Lee also made two appearances for the Welsh semi-pro international side against Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Last season Lee failed to develop his early potential and signed for Northwich during the summer.

For Mark Quayle, his short spell at Chester proved a disappointing experience. When Mark came to the Deva, on loan from Nuneaton Borough, he arrived in the hope of securing a permanent move. His speed of thought and goal poaching ability had proved a thorn in the side when playing against Chester but he failed to display this skill at the Deva. Mark had a string of clubs before joining Chester including Everton, Notts County, Halifax Town, Leigh RMI, Ilkeston Town, Altrincham, Morecambe and Telford United. Mark made his Chester debut at Dagenham and Redbridge and scored his only goal for the club, in his home debut the following week, against today’s opponents Halifax Town. He went on to make six league plus three substitute appearances for City but will unfortunately be best remembered for getting sent off at Gravesend and Northfleet and then, crucially, repeating the trick in the closing stages of the play-of first leg at Doncaster. Although there was some talk of him signing for Chester during the summer Mark started the season with Conference rivals Scarborough.
Chas Sumner [Published 13/09/03]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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