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WHAT HAPPENED TO...

Cortez Belle was a Mark Wright signing during the 2004/05 close season following promotion from the Conference. The big striker attracted the club’s attention after scoring 44 goals in two seasons for Merthyr Tydfil and joined City for a cut-rate £1,000.

The muscular youngster certainly proved an intimidating presence up front and his long throws were a useful option but his disciplinary record badly let him down. Cortez, a former Coventry apprentice, made 17+5 League appearances for Chester and scored a single goal in the 1-1 home draw with Leyton Orient. He also scored in the 2-0 FA Cup win at Stafford Rangers. Unfortunately he received more red cards than he scored goals and was sent off against Scunthorpe United, Northampton Town and Rochdale. His third dismissal resulted in a five game suspension and he finished the season on loan with Newport County before signing permanently for the South Wales club during the summer.

The disciplinary problems followed him to County and after a dismissal against Chippenham Town in September he received a second suspension in November for squirting water at a linesman. In January 2006 Cortez left his home town club by mutual agreement and linked up with Peter Nicholas, one of his former managers, at Welsh Premier League club Llanelli. His career stabilized at Llanelli and he finished the season with eight goals in eighteen games.

In 2006/07 he was deployed at centre half by the Welsh side but was released at the end of the season. In summer 2007 Cortez signed for Conference side Halifax Town but after 17 appearances had his contract cancelled and he returned to Cheshire in January with Northwich Victoria. Still playing at the heart of the defence Cortez has recently been joined at the Victoria Stadium by another former Chester player Darryn Stamp.

Goalkeeper Stephane Gillet was an emergency signing by Keith Curle on the verge of the FA Cup Third Round tie at Cheltenham Town in January 2006. With injuries to Chris MacKenzie and Ryan Brookfield and Everton unwilling to let John Ruddy be cup-tied City turned to the Luxembourg national goalkeeper for assistance.

A well-travelled keeper Stephane had experience playing in several countries including Standard Liege (Belgium), Racing Union (Luxembourg), FC Wil (Switzerland), SV Elversberg (Germany) and Paris St Germain (France). Stephane made an impressive debut at Whaddon Road and was only beaten by two penalties in a 2-2 draw.

Unfortunately he joined Chester in the middle of a run of league defeats that culminated in the sacking of Curle and when Mark Wright was appointed manager in February the Luxembourgian’s days were numbered. Stephane, who won an international cap against Belgium while registered with City, returned to his former club Racing Union of Luxembourg in March 2006 and signed for another local side, Jeunesse d’Esch, in 2007.

American Ian Joy joined City from Ohio based Columbus Crew in March 2003 and made his debut in the 2-0 home defeat to Farnborough Town. A left sided midfielder or defender Ian played three games for City was released at the end of the campaign.

Prior to his time at the Deva Stadium Ian was with Tranmere Rovers, Stirling Albion, Montrose and Kidderminster Harriers and also played for the US Youth National Team at U17, U20 and U23 level. Following his release by Chester he had trials with Southend United and Yeovil Town before signing for the second team of Hamburger SV who played in the German Regionalliga Nord (Third Division).

The following season the San Diego born midfielder moved across Hamburg to play for FC St Pauli where he remained for three and a half seasons and helped them to promotion to the second level of German football. In January 2008 Ian returned to his homeland and signed for Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake of Utah in time for pre-season training.

Chas Sumner [Published 12/3/08]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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