A season that was to be Stuart Rimmer's final bow for Chester City and one where the Blues finished above the likes of Swansea City, Cardiff City and Hull City, much has changed since the 1997/98 campaign.

If ever a reminder of just how much the English footballing landscape has changed over the past two decades, you need only look at the Division Three table at the end of that season. The Swans, Bluebirds and Tigers all finished beneath the Blues while other clubs such as Brighton & Hove Albion and Doncaster Rovers also ended the season further down the pyramid than Kevin Ratcliffe's Chester side.

The season itself began with much optimism following Chester's heart-breaking play-off defeat by the Swans just months earlier, but it failed to live up to expectations and the Blues ended up way off the play-off pace, mainly down the the perilous financial situation off the pitch.

But it had it's defining moments. Rimmer's final bow, the financial struggles that saw the bizarre transfer of Matt McKay to Everton and the divisive figure of Gary Bennett returning to the club from cross-border rivals Wrexham to make a veteran frontline for the Blues.

We take a look at the players to have pulled on the blue and white during that season.

Ronnie Sinclair

Scottish goalkeeper Sinclair joined the Blues in 1996 having spent five years at Stoke City.

He became a mainstay of the Chester side during his two year stay with the Blues, making 70 league appearances in the process.

He left in 1998 and was replaced by his understudy at Chester, Wayne Brown, who went on to firmly establish himself as part of the fabric of the club for a decade.

Sinclair went on to become academy goalkeeping coach at Aston Villa.

Ross Davidson

Full-back Davidson joined the Blues from Sheffield United, initially on loan, in 1995 and sufficiently impressed Chester boss Ratcliffe to sign him on a permanent deal.

He went on to make well over 100 appearances for the Blues before becoming one of a number of fan favourites to depart the club during the Terry Smith era, where the quality of footballers were judged on how exotic their name sounded instead of actual ability.

Davidson went on to play for Barnet, briefly, before joining Shrewsbury Town. He then dropped into non-league football with spells at Ashford Town (Middlesex) among others.

Iain Jenkins

Having established himself in the promotion-winning Chester team of 1993/94, full-back Jenkins carved himself out a fine reputation during the first of his two spells with the club.

He made 160 league appearances for Chester between 1993 and 1998 having began his career at Everton. His form was rewarded with full international honours with Northern Ireland and a Deadline Day move north of the border to Dundee United.

He returned to England in 2000 to play for Shrewsbury and made a brief six game return to Chester in 2001 before hanging up his boots and pursuing a career in coaching. He has since had spells as assistant manager Scottish clubs Cowdenbeath and St Mirren.

Neil Fisher

Having began his career with Bolton Wanderers, midfielder Fisher joined the Blues in 1995 and, like Jenkins, had two spells with the club.

He was a regular for Ratcliffe in the heart of midfield until 1998 when he departed for a 12-month stint in Welsh football with Bangor City and Connah's Quay Nomads.

He returned to the club in 1999 and was part of the team that was relegated from the Football League in 2000. He remained with the club until 2001 and amassed over 200 appearances for the Blues in all competitions before taking in spells with Leigh RMI, Hyde United, Speke Town and Bala Town.

Spencer Whelan

A player who divided opinion, for many Blues fans 'Spenner' was a bit like Marmite.

When on his game he could look a class apart before producing a howler that brought your expectations back in check, but he was a 110% kind of player. He did, though, enjoy an eight-year spell at Chester where he amassed well over 200 appearances for the Blues, winning promotion in 1994, coming close to a play-off final berth in 1997 and playing under the late, great Harry McNally.

The tall centre back was signed by McNally in 1990 following his release from Liverpool and he made his debut as a 19-year old in a 2-0 loss to Bolton Wanderers.

He went on to become a familiar face at the Deva Stadium before leaving for Shrewsbury in 1998. Injury cut short his playing career and he retired from professional football in 2000.

Look: The Chester squad from 97/98

Julian Alsford

Defender Alsford joined the Blues in 1994 following their promotion to Division Two and was one of the few standout performers from what was an otherwise disastrous campaign.

Following relegation, Alsford established himself as a key member of the Blues squad and made over 150 appearances during a four-year stay before leaving, along with Jenkins, for Dundee United due to the Blues being strapped for cash.

He returned for a brief spell towards the tail end of the 1998/99 season before the Poole-born defender headed back down south for a stint in non-league football with Dorchester Town.

Nick Richardson

Another player to turn a loan spell into a more permanent affair, midfielder Richardson made an impact during a brief temporary spell from Bury in 1995, signing that same year.

Richardson made over 100 appearances in three years at Cardiff and quickly established himself as a key cog in Ratcliffe's squad, enjoying a six-year association with the club.

Like Fisher, Richardson remained with the Blues following their drop into non-league football in 2000, playing under Graham Barrow for much of their maiden Conference campaign before departing for York City in 2001. He ended his playing career at Frickley Athletic in 2004.

David Flitcroft

Before establishing himself as a much-admired Footballl League manager, 'Flicker' had to live in the shadows of his brother Gary when he was plying his trade with Manchester City in the Premier League during the 1990s.

Having come through the ranks to make his League debut with Preston North End in 1992, Flitcroft was signed by Barrow in 1993 and was part of the Bleus squad that won promotion to Division Two.

A midfielder with a good touch and vision, Flitcroft made over 200 appearances for Chester during a six-year stay that ended in 1999.

He webt on to play for Rochdale, Macclesfield Town and Bury before turning his hand to management with Barnsley and, currently, League One Bury.

Chester midfielder Shaun Reid was sidelined for 12 months
Chester midfielder Shaun Reid was sidelined for 12 months

Rod Thomas

Flying winger Thomas was a hit in his two years at Chester, proving some much-needed flair to Ratcliffe's side.

Having began his career at Watford it was at Carlisle United where he made his name, making over 150 appearances in a four-year spell that included a Football League Trophy final win at Wembley in 1997.

He played in 44 league games for Chester, scoring seven times, before leaving the club in the summer of 1998 to sign with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Gary Bennett

Much was made of Bennett's third spell with the Blues after he made the switch from cross-border rivals Wrexham in 1997.

Having had two previous lengthy spells with the Blues, his leaving for Wrexham in 1992, where he went on to become a legend at the Racecourse, rankled with some fans.

While managing to get amongst the goals in his two year spell at Chester, where injury would force him to retire in 1999, he failed to hit the heights he did at Wrexham, although he did net 13 times in 48 league games.

Andy Milner

Forever enshrined in Chester footballing folklore for his part in the 2-2 Valentine's Day draw at Wrexham in 1995, hard-working striker Milner was a regular for the Blues between 1995 and 1999.

The strong-running Milner, who signed from Rochdale in 1994, wasn't prolific for the Blues but his unselfish play and work ethic endeared himself to the Blues fans.

But having been a key member of the squad since arriving in 1994, Milner was to end his Blues career at the start of the 1997/98 season as the arrival of Bennett had forced him down the pecking order. He made just one appearance during the campaign, departing for Conference side Morecambe that same season.

Andy Milner on the attack against Cambridge United
Andy Milner on the attack against Cambridge United

Stuart Rimmer

The word 'legend' is one that is often overused when it comes to football but, in the case of diminutive striker Rimmer, it is one that is entirely apt when describing his association with the Blues.

Rimmer was inducted into the Chester FC Hall of Fame in March 2011 for his goalscoring exploits where he bagged 185 goals in 361 appearances during two spells with the club.

The 1997/98 season was, though, to prove his Chester swansong. He netted eight goals during the campaign and, fittingly, netted a late equaliser at home to Scarborough a 1-1 draw in what was his final game for the Blues on Saturday, May 2, 1998.

Rod McDonald

Having made his name at Walsall during a four-year spell between 1990 and 1994, striker McDonald arrived at the Deva Stadium from Scottish club Partick Thistle in 1996 in order to provide extra striking options in the play-off run-in.

He netted six goals in 22 games for the Blues during the 1996/97 campaign but struggled the following season, scoring five in 31 outings.

He then dropped into non-league football with clubs including Winsford United, Accrington Stanley and Runcorn.

His son, also named Rod, is a professional footballer and plays as a defender for Northampton Town.

John Murphy

Another player to return for a second spell at the club, tall, burly striker Murphy came through the Chester academy to make his debut for the club in 1995.

He struggled to nail down a regular spot in the side early in his Blues career but made 27 appearances in the 1997/98 season, scoring four times.

The following season saw him hit the goal trail for Chester and become an integral part of the team, resulting in him securing a move to Blackpool, where he would become a huge hit, on the eve of the 1999/2000 season.

He returned to Chester in 2007 when he was signed by Bobby Williamson from Macclesfield Town.

Wayne Brown

A player who went on to enjoy a long association with the Blues, goalkeeper Brown first came to the club in 1996 from non-league Weston-Super-Mare having started his career with Bristol City.

Brown was signed, initially, as cover for Sinclair and made just two appearances in the 1996/97 season. But he featured more prominently in 1997/98 owing to an injury to Sinclair, making 13 appearances between the posts.

He went on to firmly establish himself as Chester's number one over a 10 year period that saw him experience relegation from the Football League in 2000 and promotion back to the elite 92 four years later.

He was awarded a testimonial in 2004 and left the Blues in 2005 for Hereford United, a club where he spent three years.

He went on to play for Bury, South African side Supersport United and Oxford United, where he now works as a goalkeeping coach.

Chris Priest in the thick of the action
Chris Priest in the thick of the action

Chris Priest

Central midfielder Priest was a Blues regular since arriving at the club in 1995 having emerged through the ranks at Everton.

He arrived at the club on loan but his performances soon prompted Ratcliffe to make him a permanent addition to the club.

The slight Priest would spend four seasons with the Blues, amassing 155 league appearances and chipping in with 26 goals before departing for Cheshire neigbours Macclesfield in 1999, a club he would once again give long service. He ended his career with spells at Bangor City and Colwyn Bay.

In the 1997/98 season he was one of the most regular faces in Ratcliffe's starting XI, featuring 37 times and scoring six goals.

Matt Woods

Signed as a defender from Everton in 1996, Woods was a handy utility plater for Chester during his four-year spell with the club, where he was occasionally deployed as a makeshift striker.

Having featured predominantly from the bench during the 1996/97 season, Woods was handed a more prominent role during 1997/98 and made 24 starts, coming off the bench five times and netting twice.

He stayed with Chester following their 2000 relegation, playing under Barrow before leaving for Stalybridge Celtic.

Jonathan Jones

A product of Chester's centre of excellence, striker Jones was a regular sight on the substitutes bench between 1996 and 1999, although his appearances on the pitch were somewhat more fleeting.

Jones started just 11 games in four years for Chester but came off the bench 27 times, finding the net twice. In the 1997/98 campaign he found his chances limited and appeared just seven times, scoring once.

After a brief loan spell at Barry Town in March 1999 he left the club during the relegation campaign of 1999/2000, dropping into Welsh football with Caernarfon Town.

Gary Shelton

A veteran when he signed for the club during the 1994/95 season in Division Two having amassed close to 500 games for clubs including Aston Villa, Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday, midfielder Shelton was assistant to Ratcliffe during the 1997/98 season.

Having seen his game time reduce each season since arriving at the club, Shelton made just three appearances in the 1997/98 season, the last of those coming in a drab 0-0 draw at Hartlepool United on February 14, calling time on a playing career that lasted 22 years.

Shelton, whose son Andy played alongside him at the Blues, went on to join the West Brom coaching staff after leaving his coaching role at Chester in June 2000.

Spencer Whelan in action against Hull City's Mark Hateley
Spencer Whelan in action against Hull City's Mark Hateley

Ryan Dobson

Youth team graduate Dobson came into the side at a time when boss Ratcliffe was struggling to add bodies to his faltering squad owing to the money woes behind the scenes.

He was handed a first team debut at home to Rochdale in a 4-0 home win on November 1, 1997. He kept his place in the team for the next two games but then fell out of favour, returning to the side to start the final three games of the season but was not offered a new deal by Ratcliffe.

Martin Giles

Another Blues youngster to break through to the first team during the 1997/98 campaign, Giles profited from a lack of depth in the Chester squad and appeared eight times, starting eight of those games.

The full-back made his debut in a 2-1 win at Notts County on November 4, 1997, playing alongside another Blues youngster in Dobson.

Giles impressed during his time in the squad but lost his place in the team when Davidson returned from injury. His final Blues appearance came as a substitute in a 3-1 home win over Colchester United on April 18, 1998.

Released at the 1997/98 season, Giles went on to turn out for Telford United, Nantwich Town and Welsh side Newtown, with whom he enjoyed a long a successful stint.

Matt McKay

Midfielder McKay burst onto the first-team scene as a 17-year-old and immediately caught the eye for Ratcliffe's side during the tail end of the 1997/98 season.

Despite making just five appearances, two of those from the bench, McKay was snapped up by Premier League giants Everton on Transfer Deadline Day in 1998 for a fee believed to be around £250,000. His departure, along with that of Alsford and Jenkins to Dundee United, helped the cash-strapped Blues raise enough funds to keep their heads above water.

The midfielder played in the reserves for Everton but failed to make the breakthrough before injury cruelly ended his career at the age of 21.

David Flitcroft scores from the penalty spot in the defeat of Doncaster Rovers at the Deva
David Flitcroft scores from the penalty spot in the defeat of Doncaster Rovers at the Deva

Darren Wright

Striker Wright holds the Blues record for the most appearances made off the bench having been used as a back-up striker during five seasons with the Blues.

The acrobatic Wright made 86 league appearances for Chester, 46 of those coming from the bench, netting seven times for the club.

During the 1997/98 campaign was when he first came on to the scene, making his Chester debut in a 5-0 mauling at Exeter City on April 4, 1998. He went on to play five times before the end of the season, starting five times.

Known for his exhuberant goal celebrations that often included somersaults, Wright went on to play for Droylsden, Vauxhall Motors and Caernarfon Town after leaving Chester in December 2001.

Andy Shelton

Son of assistant manager Gary, midfielder Shelton appeared as a substitute twice at the end of 1997/98.

He went on to make 38 appearances for Chester, netting once in a 1-0 home win over Darlington during the 1998/99 campaign. He left in 2000 and joined Harrogate Town before spells at Ossett Albion, Caernarfon, Hyde United, Ossett Town and West Cheshire League side Christleton.