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The Conference Championship squad of 2003/04 ... Part 3

Continuing our look at the current whereabouts of the players who took Chester back into the Football League in 2003/04.

Daryl Clare became Chester’s record signing when he joined the club from Boston United for £95,000 in November 2002 and the Conference’s most lethal striker made an instant impact with two goals on his debut in a 2-2 thriller against Yeovil Town. Daryl went on to score fifteen goals in his first twelve games, including a hat-trick against Margate, a strike rate that guaranteed the likeable Jersey born forward instant hero status. Despite missing the first sixteen games of the promotion season Daryl still netted 29 goals in 30 appearances and won the Conference Golden Boot Award for the second time as well as the Conference Player of the Year. It was a huge disappointment to many when an injury picked up in pre-season resulted in a hernia operation after only three fixtures back in the Football League and, after briefly returning to the side in October, he was allowed to return to his former club Boston the following month. Unfortunately Daryl failed to re-produce his former glories at York Street and was transferred to Crawley Town in August 2005 where he found the back of the net 11 times in 25 games. However, financial problems at Crawley, in March 2006, saw the players wages slashed and the whole squad put on the transfer list with Daryl signing for Nigel Clough at Burton Albion. Having made more than 50 appearances for the Brewers Daryl has lost none of his knack of scoring crucial goals with three of his six strikes so far this season coming in injury time as Burton fight for a place in the Football League.

Darryn Stamp formed the other half of the most successful striking duo at Chester since Gary Talbot and Mike Metcalf scored 55 in the 1964/65 season. Darryn contributed 20 goals, including a hat-trick against Leigh RMI, as the little and large combination caused havoc in Conference defences. The Yorkshire born striker joined City from Northampton Town in August 2003 and, after making his debut at Exeter, scored in his first home appearance, a vital 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town. Following promotion Darryn picked up an injury in the pre-season game against Walsall and struggled to regain his place in the side after recovery despite the lack of any effective aerial presence in the Chester forward line. After a month on loan with Kidderminster Harriers he returned to the Conference with Stevenage Borough in February 2005 and started his new career in fine style with two goals in the first 45 minutes of his debut against Farnborough Town. Although Darryn started last season with Stevenage he lost his place in the side late in August and spent two months on loan at York City before moving to Halifax Town in January. Once again the big striker scored on his debut and is currently still at the Shay although he has failed to get on the scoresheet so far this campaign.

When Chester signed Darryn Stamp he replaced Kevin Rapley in the Chester front line. The former Brentford and Southend striker joined City from Colchester United in July 2003 and made his debut in the goalless draw at Stevenage. Kevin was mainly used as a substitute in the promotion campaign and both his goals, against Northwich and Leigh RMI, were scored when he came off the bench. Darryn Stamp’s injury gave Kevin an opportunity to lead the line in City’s first game back in the Football League and he has the distinction of scoring the opening goal of the campaign when he reacted first after Daryl Clare’s penalty had been saved by Notts County keeper Steve Mildenhall. In January 2005 Kevin moved to Forest Green Rovers on loan followed by Droylsden in April and he signed full-time for the Bloods after his release by Chester in the summer. The Reading-born striker remained with Droylsden until February this year when he signed for another Conference North side, Leigh RMI. Kevin finished this season at Hilton Park in a rich vein of form, scoring 8 goals in the final 15 games, and started the season in similar style for the struggling Lancashire side although he suffered a red card in the September fixture against Southport.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Chas Sumner [Published 27/10/07] | Pictures © Evening Leader




















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