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WHAT HAPPENED TO...

The Conference Championship squad of 2003/04 ... Part 6

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

The unpredictable Alex Smith re-joined Chester in November 2003 having previously made 32 appearances for the club in 1998/99. A former Everton trainee, the skilful midfielder featured for Swindon Town and Huddersfield Town before signing for Chester and after an impressive season at the Deva Stadium joined Port Vale for £75,000. After moving to Reading in summer 2001 he spent some time on loan at Shrewsbury in 2002/03 and re-signed for City after several weeks training with the squad. Alex made an immediate impact with a superb 25 yard goal in his first home appearance, a 1-0 win over Barnet. He was also at the heart of the excellent results over the Christmas period when the Blues scored 16 goals in 3 games including a couple for Alex at Tamworth and Leigh RMI. After 20 successive appearances Alex was replaced by Michael Twiss for the final run-in and when he walked out of the Deva, before the final home game against Scarborough, his days were numbered with Mark Wright. In July 2004 Alex signed for Wrexham but struggled with injury in his first season as the Reds were relegated. The following year he had a good run in the side at the start of the season, playing in a more defensive role, but was later restricted to the occasional game and was released by Wrexham in May 2006. Alex started the 2006/07 season with Conference side Southport for whom he signed a month to month contract but left the club in October after only 10 appearances.

Well-travelled Lee Elam became the final signing of the 2003/04 season when he joined City on loan from Yeovil Town at the end of March. A former Bradford City trainee, Lee played for Guiseley and Southport before turning full-time with Morecambe followed by Halifax Town. In summer 2003 he was transferred to Yeovil for £15,000 after their elevation to the Football League. Lee made his Chester debut as a substitute against Aldershot and made his only start in the final fixture at Hereford. After his release by Yeovil in summer 2003 Lee joined another ex-City player, Shaun Carey, at Conference South side Hornchurch but was made available for transfer with the rest of the squad a few months later when the Essex side suffered serious financial problems. Following a single appearance at Burton Albion Lee returned to Morecambe for the remainder of the 2004/05 campaign. In summer 2005 the Bradford born winger made a brief stop at Crawley Town but a frustrating series of injuries saw his contract cancelled by mutual consent after only three months. Next port of call was Weymouth where he linked up with his former Hornchurch manager Garry Hill and was a key member of the side that won promotion to the Conference. In 2006/07 Lee was once again with the wrong club at the wrong time as Weymouth decided to cut their costs and put the whole squad up for sale in January. The Terras loss was Exeter City’s gain and after moving down to Devon the tricky winger scored a hat-trick on his debut against none other than Weymouth. At the end of the season Lee was a member of the Grecians team beaten in the Conference play-off final by Morecambe and is still with the club at the time of writing.

Finally, Danny Williams came to City on a one months loan from Kidderminster Harriers in mid-February. The combative midfielder made his debut in the 2-1 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge and played five games for City before returning to Aggborough. Within days of his return he signed for Bristol Rovers and scored on his Pirates debut against York. Despite the bright start the former Wales Under-21 signed for his former club Wrexham in summer 2004 and has now made more than 150 appearances for the Reds although he has missed most of this campaign through injury.

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

Chas Sumner [Published 22/12/07]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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