Going into the new 2014/2015 season, there are many questions to be answered, but for many the biggest wonder is how will Andy Bishop get on? The one time Conference goal machine for York in 2006, is now back and in all honesty, struggling for goals. In November 2012 he joined on loan, under Andy Morrell and his two goals in four games meant his return to Bury was bitterly disappointing. Who knows where we would have finished if he stayed for the rest of the campaign? But after financial crippled Bury let him go, his Racecourse return was sealed and the number 9 shirt his, for the first time in his career.
Yes, it seemed our new staggering signing and all the bravado meant playing him in the wrong position in a formation and playing style completely unsuited to him went significantly under the radar, especially after the departure of Danny Wright, Bishop would surely be a like of like replacement for our side.
Well, fast-forward to the start of January and it’s all gone a bit Pete Tong, with just 5 league goals, 3 of which came in one game against Gateshead, the crowd were baying for his blood, along with that of the manager, assistant, kit man, programme sellers…basically anyone at the club for the abysmal season.
But it is vital to look at why he struggled, as even he has come out admitting what a poor season he had, finishing with 7 goals in the Conference last term. But we need to look at why by comparing him with the player he was apparently meant to replace in Danny Wright.
Two completely different players. Wright is a natural number 9, where he played for Histon, Cambridge United and now Forest Green Rovers. Whilst Bishop has always played the number 10 role, his goal record for York City in the Conference in 2005/2006 season meant he topped the goal scorers chart with 22 goals. He moved on to Bury in the Football League where his goalscoring continued in the same role. So why when he switched to the Racecourse did we change his role? Andy Morrell did of course refuse to switch from 4-3-3. One reason could be how on earth would you be able to split up the best midfield in the league, it’s so hard to drop the Harris/Keates/Clarke trio, so you need one striker and two wingers out wide up top. Our most successful season with this had to be 2011/2012, where Danny Wright, Jake Speight and Mathias Pogba played up front, but Bishop, Ormerod and Ogleby just didn’t have the same effect.
The final reason in my eyes for his failure would be the lack of assist leaders in the side. Our wide players were strikers, looking to score not create goals. We had players in the side who aren’t naturally creative, meaning the service to Bishop was poor and in some games, non-existent. So along with some off the field issues it was as if the world was against him, until this summer. It was alongside Carl Hogan at a pre-season friendly against Everton that our jaws were found about 10 foot down surpassing the gantry floor to the gravel below, as the Bish caused problems in the air, closed defenders down and was a constant threat. With some support behind him and the number 10 on his back, he has wind in his sails. Are we about to see the Andy Bishop the Minstermen had the pleasure of seeing? I hope so, as long as we put him in the right position!