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.
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.
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
Sumner [Published 13/09/03]