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Former midfielder joins academy setup

24 August 2020

We are pleased to announce that former Mansfield midfielder Neal Bishop has joined the club’s academy setup at Brooksby Melton College, as our new Elite Football Development head coach.

Bishop, who made 78 appearances for the amber and blue over two seasons, announced his retirement from football last Friday.

After recently completing his UEFA A Licence coaching badge, the 39-year-old has joined the Stags’ academy set-up at Brooksby Melton College, and will oversee 16 to 19-year-old footballers who are completing the Elite Football Development programme.

Bishop says that he is ‘desperate’ to start his coaching career.

“Coaching was always something that appealed to me and I started doing my badges years ago. I’ve just completed my [UEFA] A Licence, so it’s all fallen into place,” he began.

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“I can’t wait to get my teeth into coaching as I’m passionate about developing people – I’m desperate to get started.”

The former Blackpool midfielder says he plans to call on his experiences as a footballer to develop young players, having amassed over 600 career appearances.

“There are two under-19 [development] teams down there [Brooksby Melton College],” he added. “The lads are doing education there as they’re just starting college.

“They’re doing a BTEC along with their football, so half the time they’ll probably be in the classroom.

“It’ll be me and Jack Thomas [former Mansfield midfielder] down there. I’m passionate about developing the lads as footballers and as people.

“I’ve played in every division from the Championship so I think I have a wealth of experience. After a good training session I’ve always made notes of it and I’ve coaching books at home.

“I’m like a kid at Christmas. I can’t wait to get started and have so many ideas. There are some great coaches within the academy and I’m eager to learn.

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“In football I’ve had ups and downs – there aren’t a lot of emotions I haven’t experienced as a player.

“People will have seen me as a player and think I’m quite aggressive, but as a coach I want to be open and want the lads to feel like they can come to me.

“I love chatting about the game and passing on my experience. The game has been relatively good to me and I want to be able to give something back.”

Bishop says that the youngsters at Brooksby Melton College are in good hands, as the coaches are ‘passionate about developing people and players.’

“We’re open, friendly and welcoming. There’s a good group of lads there. If you come down and don’t like it for whatever reason, at least you’ve got a couple of decent football sessions in you.

“Anyone who is thinking about doing something like this, get in touch and you won’t regret it.

“The coaches here are passionate about developing people and players.”


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