Bishop could benefit most from a fresh start away from Town as an 18-year Ipswich career ends
- Credit: Archant
Teddy Bishop has left Ipswich Town after 18 years to join Lincoln City. Andy Warren looks back at his time in blue.
Teddy Bishop literally grew up at Ipswich Town.
He’s moved on after 18 years in Suffolk, which saw him arrive at the age of eight and ultimately tread the unlikely path to make it through to the first-team squad for seven seasons.
He arrived with a bang, bursting into Mick McCarthy’s side in the summer of 2014 and becoming a highly-rated young player who was targeted by some of the biggest clubs in the land.
For good reason, too, as his quick feet and forward thinking added a new dimension to a solid side high on character but lacking in flair.
The summer of 2015, which also included a fine for an ill-advised breach of betting regulations for the teenager, was packed with optimism after a near miss in the play-offs during his breakthrough year. But, in truth, it’s where his injury nightmare began.
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Shin splints and then hamstring trouble kept him out of almost the entirety of 2015/16, with only four appearances coming following his return in April, before a decent run of fitness at the start of the following campaign was ended by an ankle ligament problem in December. His return a few weeks later was hit by another injury, this time to his groin.
Injuries were becoming a real worry, with that groin problem delaying the start of his 2017/18 campaign until November before a raptured hamstring in a Boxing Day clash with Gillingham, in which Bishop had been excellent, saw the academy product leave the field in tears.
Ipswich fans were willing Bishop to succeed and you could hear collective gasps whenever he hit the deck, then sighs of relief on the occasions he bounced back up to continue. But you had to begin to wonder just where Bishop’s career was going at this point and, had he not returned and stayed relatively fit for the second half of Town’s relegation season in 2018/19, Paul Lambert would have surely released him.
But his performances earned a new deal and he was one of the players we were most excited about seeing in League One, given he had seemed to find consistency of fitness which had allowed him to show his undoubted talents.
But, just as things were looking so good, a freak knee injury suffered on Town’s German tour meant he didn’t play again in 2019. He was back in the side on New Year’s Day but hadn’t truly gotten going again before football’s Covid shutdown in March of 2020.
And that’s, largely, where the injury problems ended, even if the stigma didn’t truly lift. He returned following lockdown with a bang, scoring four goals in 11 games and looking like he had added the much-needed end product to his game.
He played 38 games last season, including 14 of Cook’s 16, but looked to find things a little difficult under the incoming manager. He was regularly on the end of bellowed instructions from the touchline, urging him to play higher, to ‘change the play’ and to take up different positions, during a spell when he looked beaten at times but had played enough games to trigger a contract extension.
But it quickly became clear the homegrown midfielder was surplus to requirements as his Ipswich career was effectively brought to an end by Cook, who sent him to train with the Blues’ Under 23s.
In total, he leaves having made 132 appearances, scoring five goals - averaging 19 appearances a season during his seven campaigns and completing the full 90 minutes on just nine occasions.
What went well
Bishop’s breakthrough into the Ipswich first-team was an unexpected delight which brought a freshness to an extremely functional Ipswich side which, at times, lacked spark. It was great to see.
The twinkle-toed assist for Daryl Murphy at Blackpool in November 2014 was the perfect example of what the then teenager brought to the side.
Injuries then bit but, when he was available again, he continued to bring a unique set of midfield attributes all-too lacking in the Town engine room during the various incarnations of the Ipswich first-team.
He could run with the ball and break the lines, drawing fouls in the process and forcing the opposition to think differently. He enjoyed some really good spells doing exactly that.
In terms of memorable highlight moments, most came during a superb spell at the start of 2020/21, with a header against Wigan, efforts from outside the box against Blackpool and Gillingham (a winner) and a clever goal against Rochdale making up 80% of his goal output.
He was a big reason why this version of Ipswich Town started another season so strongly. Sadly, it faded away.
Areas to improve
First and foremost, Bishop needs to maintain the vastly improved levels of fitness he was able to show during last season, during which he played 38 games.
But the key to the midfielder’s progress is surely going to be consistent levels of production.
He scored four goals in the first 11 games of last season but netted just once in the other 121 appearances he made in a blue shirt.
We know he can run with the ball when given the opportunity and, at times, he showed an improved level of tackling last season. But there have definitely been games when he has been quiet, even anonymous. If he is crowded out and doesn’t have room to run, then he has often not been able to find a way to play. How much of that was down to playing in a poor side is open to debate.
If he can show he can be a reliable, all-round midfielder, then Lincoln could be getting an excellent signing.
What the future holds
This feels like a really good move for Bishop, as he joins a club who once again will have designs on promotion after last season’s play-off loss.
He’s been in the Ipswich bubble since he was at primary school and he feels, to me at least, like the departing Town player who could benefit most from a fresh start, a clean slate, new ideas and fresh voices. This is a real chance for him to start again and show just how good he can be without the baggage which has come for all those associated with Ipswich over the last three seasons.
Bishop has talent and a good attitude, we know that, but showing levels of consistency and adding the previously discussed output to his game is going to be key as he bids to make the grade away from home.
Plenty of the Ipswich persuasion will be keeping an eye on him and will wish him all the best – apart from his two games against Town this season, that is.