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The Conference Championship squad of 2003/04 ... Part 5

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

Striker Ian Foster already had experience of winning the Conference championship when he joined Chester from Kidderminster in summer 2003. The former Liverpool apprentice had been leading scorer with 17 goals when the Harriers were promoted to the Football League in 2000 and when he was released by Kidderminster Mark Wright snapped him up on a free transfer. After coming on as a substitute in the first three fixtures “Fozzie” started the next ten games, scoring two goals, before losing his place when Daryl Clare returned from injury. With Clare and Darryn Stamp scoring freely Ian’s opportunities were limited and in February 2004 he returned to Kidderminster on loan after rejecting a move to Nuneaton. After scoring three goals in 10+1 games at Aggborough he was recalled by City for the final game of the season at Hereford where he came on as a substitute. Released by Chester in June, Ian returned to Kidderminster for a third time where he finished leading scorer in 2004/05 despite having his season curtailed by a knee injury in February as Harriers were relegated back to the Conference. In June Ian signed for Forest Green Rovers on a two year contract but his stay there proved to be brief and by November he was playing for Nuneaton Borough in the Conference North. After Nuneaton were beaten in the play-offs in 2006 Ian was released and gave up playing to concentrate on training as a physiotherapist. At the end of May 2006 it can surely have been no surprise when Ian was appointed as physio at Kidderminster where he has always been a great favourite.

Central midfielder Andy Harris signed for Chester from Leyton Orient in July 2003. Like Foster, Andy had been a graduate of the Liverpool academy and played for Southend United for three years before moving to Orient in 1999. A big favourite at Brisbane Road Andy looked to be a useful signing but only made 10+ 4 appearances in the Conference season with most of them coming at the start of the campaign. The departure of Mark Wright saw the South African given another opportunity in the first team but the arrival of Alan Navarro on loan from Tranmere saw him out of the side again and for the rest of the year he was restricted to occasional appearances. In February 2005 Andy joined Kevin Rapley on loan at Forest Green and made his final Chester appearance as a substitute in the last game of the season at Oxford United. Following his release by City Andy signed for Weymouth where he became a fan’s favourite at the heart of the midfield as the Terras won promotion to the Conference. Following knee surgery during the close season Andy was unable to regain his place in the Weymouth side and after a loan spell at Eastleigh Town joined the Conference South side on a permanent basis in October 2006. Andy is still with Eastleigh who currently lie just outside the play-offs in the Blue Square South.

A former Republic of Ireland Under 21 international, Shaun Carey was one of Mark Wright’s first signings when he took over as manager in 2002. After helping pull City away from the relegation zone Shaun was restricted to only 15+3 appearances in 2002/03. He remained out of favour until November when he got a longer run in the side and featured in most of the matches in the second half of the promotion campaign. The central midfielder, who made 76 appearances for Norwich City between 1995 and 2000, was released by Chester following promotion and accepted a lucrative offer to join Hornchurch. The Conference South team, managed by Garry Hill, had just received a massive cash injection but the bubble burst in November 2004 and Shaun was one of the players that suffered in the aftermath when the business of the main investors collapsed. In July 2005 Shaun linked up with Garry Hill again at Weymouth where he joined other former City players Andy Harris, Lee Elam and Andy Watson. In October Shaun moved back north to Droylsden before returning to Norfolk with King’s Lynn only two months later. In September 2006 Shaun suffered a double fracture of the leg and was awarded a benefit game against Norwich City the following month. The resignation of manager Tommy Taylor saw Shaun take charge of the Linnets side that faced Bishop’s Stortford in the FA Cup First Round and when a new manager was appointed he accepted the role of assistant. During the summer Shaun stepped down from his management position so that he could concentrate on getting himself fit for the new season.

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

Chas Sumner [Published 8/12/07] | Pictures © Evening Leader




















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