Video: Neal Bishop on turning professional later in his career than most
Former Notts County fan favourite Neal Bishop revealed he played ‘pub football’ until he was 23 and was happy being a window fitter before turning professional.
The midfielder signed professionally for Scarborough in 2005 and went on to sign for Notts County under the management of Team Talk pundit Charlie McParland four years later.
Bishop made 193 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies in the four seasons he played at Meadow Lane, scoring 12 times.
In his first season, he was part of a team that secured promotion to League One.
Bishop currently plays for Scunthorpe United who are currently chasing promotion into the Championship.
This is what Neal said about turning professional speaking on the latest episode of Team Talk, airing tonight (Wednesday March 21) at 8pm or On Demand.
“I didn’t play my first professional game until I was 24, 25.
When I was younger, I probably doubted myself a bit too much.
I was at Middlesbrough academy when I was a kid and it didn’t work out – I don’t know whether I’d become a bit disillusioned or what.
I was playing pub football at 22, 23; I would play on a Saturday, non-league, few quid cash in hand, then go out Saturday night – I’m a Middlesbrough lad, a Teeside lad and that’s how we do it.
I would then play on a Sunday morning with my mates and go to the social club in the afternoon then work Monday morning!
I used to be a window fitter and I was happy in that life, I was with a girl and it was a big decision to eventually go pro.
I was not a kid anymore and went to Scarborough who were professional in the Conference at the time.
It was a bit like, what do I do because I had a good job, picking up good money playing part time so it was a bit of a risk.
But when I got into it I thought, if I’m going to give it a go I might as well go all in.
It was a very unusual way to get into the game – you usually get the ones that come out the academies, who go out on loan and are then released.
At 20, 21, they find out they aren’t good enough for their chosen clubs and filter down through the leagues whereas coming up through them is different.
The ones who have been at the top like Jamie Vardy and Charlie Austin are such good stories and everyone knows about them because there are so few of them.
Personally, I got to the Championship with Blackpool and don’t have the ability to play in the Premier League so I have ultimately made the most of my ability so late on.
I made my debut in the Championship when I was 32 which is ridiculous and I think I appreciated it more because of the way I’d come through.
Once you come up that way, and spend most of your life doing that, you don’t come away from it.”
For more from Neal alongside Mansfield superfan Tim Kociuch and ever-present Charlie McParland, watch Team Talk tonight (March 21) at 8pm or on our catch-up service.