Bishop on his 'brutal, almost disrespectful' Ipswich exit, not fitting into Cook's system and why he's 'absolutely loving' life at Lincoln
- Credit: Lincoln City Football Club//Graham Burrell
Teddy Bishop is enjoying his new lease of life at Lincoln City following his ‘brutal, almost disrespectful’ Ipswich Town exit.
The midfielder’s 18-year stay at his boyhood club came to an end this summer, with the 25-year-old one of a large number of Town players told they weren’t in manager Paul Cook’s plans just a day after last season came to an end.
Many were released while some, like Bishop, were told they were surplus to requirements despite being under contract, with Cook delivering the news in a series of short meetings at Ipswich’s Playford Road training ground. The boss had publicly telegraphed the coming ‘pain’ for several weeks prior to confirming his summer cull, branding himself 'Demolition Man'.
It was tough for Bishop to take, given his long association with a club he joined when he was still at primary school, but there was large part of him that also felt it was time to move on and experience football away from the comfort zone Ipswich had become.
“It was kind of expected but it was brutal at the same time – almost disrespectful,” Bishop said of his exit, ahead of his reunion with the Blues this weekend.
“But football is a brutal game so you have to expect that sort of thing and you have to deal with it.
“The new manager (Cook) came in and, a few weeks after that it was quite apparent to me that I needed a new start because I didn’t really fit into his plans. I knew a couple of months before the end of the season, really.
“At the same time, I wanted to move on because I knew I didn’t fit the style of play the manager wanted and that he didn’t have a position for me because he’s very firm in his formation.
“It was a difficult time because I’d never been on loan, love the club and love the fans. Dealing with all of that was really hard. Probably the hardest bit.”
Bishop insists ‘there is no bad blood’ between him, Cook or Ipswich, though.
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“It happens,” he continued. “Managers have their style of play and it’s worked for him everywhere, so it’s not surprising you want to keep to that.
“He plays with two defensive midfielders and I was told I wasn’t allowed to get into the box, which isn’t going to help me, and then he played with a No.10 more like off the striker, which isn’t really where I see myself playing.
“It was just one of those things where it needed changing. There’s no bad blood, it is what it is.”
Bishop eventually chose Lincoln, having had plenty of other options having returned to Ipswich to begin pre-season with the Blues’ Under 23s.
And he couldn’t be happier with his decision, with Imps boss Michael Appleton giving him a freedom to express himself he wasn’t and would not be afforded by Cook.
“It was difficult but it’s been really good, too,” he said.
“We parted ways and it was what it was. I always knew I was going to go but it was about making the right decision for me and that’s why I took my time. I spoke to the manager here (Appleton) and came here a couple of times and I loved everything about the club.
“I needed a fresh start. I was in-and-out for a long time while I was at Ipswich and that maybe killed me a little bit, but for large parts of last season I played really well and stayed fit. It wasn’t all bad last season.
“I absolutely love it here,” he continued.
“The manager gives me the freedom to go out and play how I want to play with no restrictions. I can run with the ball but he also gives you a structure as a team to go out and win the game – it's not like he’s just telling you to go out and do whatever you want.
“He wants me to play off the cuff, be creative and inventive, which is perfect for me.”
Bishop started last season in excellent form under Paul Lambert, scoring four goals in his first 11 games, having only netted once in his previous 94 Ipswich games.
And he’s already off the mark for his new club, netting a superb long-range strike against Shrewsbury on his first start for the Imps.
“That was nice, on my full debut,” Bishop said. “I’m still looking to add that to my game.
“As a team last season we were struggling to create all over the pitch and when it is like that it’s hard to get those stats up unless you try and do it all on your own.
“I should have had three or four here so far because the team creates a lot more chances which gives you more of an opportunity to get those numbers up.
“I wouldn’t mind one this weekend.”
Only a handful of familiar faces remain at Portman Road following the Blues’ summer cull, but Bishop and many of those he played with last season still keep in touch, despite all going their separate ways.
“I still speak to all the boys from last year and a few of us went away (to Portugal) after the season, which was really nice,” Bishop said.
“I’m in contact with all of those boys and some of the few that are still there as well, people like Woolfie (Luke Woolfenden), so we keep in touch but I look forward to seeing them.
“We’ve had a good week at Lincoln so far with four points picked up (a 5-1 victory at Cambridge and a 1-1 draw with Rotherham), so we’ll be going out to get three more.
“Ipswich are obviously a very different side but there are still a few there I know.
“You have to treat it like any other game, though, otherwise you’ll let your emotions get the better of you. We just want to go out there and get the win.”