Super Ted: The Rebirth of Ted Bishop

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When he signed, I was told he prefers Ted to Teddy, but the latter has stuck. I was also told that he had the ability to be the new Jorge Grant, perhaps an unnecessary burden to place on the shoulders of a young man who had been plagued by injury.

As he comes towards the end of his deal with the club, he’s seemingly afflicted with what fans of a certain age will know as the ‘Battersby Effect’ – a sudden uptick in form when there’s the potential for a new deal. Of course, this is grossly unfair, and there’s much more to the complex story of Edward James Bishop.

I attempt to delve into his Imps career and whether the belief we’re now seeing the best of him is actually true (spoiler – it’s not).



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Ted signed in the summer of 2021, a challenging transfer window that was judged harshly at the time. The landscape had changed dramatically from the year before – the wage cap had left us as major players in League One, as we had shed a lot of excess fat in the window before Covid struck, and many more were out of contract when things went awry. A year later, the wage cap was gone, and we found ourselves going backwards, even though we spent more. Chris Maguire, Jamie Robson and Hakeeb Adelakun signed permanently, pointing to a weak window. In fairness, Lasse Sorensen and TJ Eyoma joined, as did Bishop.

In the eyes of many at the club, Bishop was the marquee signing. The Cambridge-born player had been with Ipswich for much of his career, and despite problems with injuries, it looked like he was fit and ready to go. He scored in his second outing, a 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury in the League Cup, but then faded in a side that struggled. However, the notion that he was always injured was a misconception – he started 28 League One matches (only five players started more), and in total, he appeared 36 times in the league; only three players managed more (Conor McGrandles, Regan Poole and Lewis Fiorini).

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The problem Ted faced was twofold. The first was a preconception that he was injury-prone. Many supporters had the image in their heads of him being injured all the time when, in actual fact, many other players in the squad were out for much longer but didn’t have the baggage of their previous injury record. Secondly, that Michael Appleton team wasn’t popular, and the players who arrived after the play-off final seemed to bear the brunt of the anger. Ted, Chris Maguire and Haks were three who were often criticised, but Ted doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with the other two.

Let’s not forget, when we’d gone five games (league and FA Cup) without a goal, it was Ted who popped up and bagged two at Cheltenham. With four league goals, he was behind only Anthony Scully (11), Lewis Fiorini (6) and both Morgan Whittaker and John Marquis (5) in the scorer’s charts. In the league, he had six goal involvements from 2606 minutes of football. It wasn’t an easy team to impress in, but he tried to carry the ball plenty – averaging four dribbles per game at a success rate of 65%. It’s worth noting that percentage put him 19th overall in League One, an impressive figure in a struggling side and top of the Imps numbers.

It’s also worth noting that across all competitions, Ted played 42 matches, more than in any other season previous.



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2022/23 was the season where I think we saw Ted possibly lose his way a bit. He was missing for much of the campaign, dropping in and out of the side mainly through injury. His 19 league starts meant he was behind 12 players in terms of appearances, and that felt like a real disappointment. However, I think the saying is ‘he made a rod for his own back’ by being utterly outstanding in the first month.

August 2022 was one time when we truly saw the best of Ted. He scored against Doncaster in the League Cup, then bagged four in two days against Fleetwood and Barnsley. He didn’t just score – he also made two goals in a thrilling month, and he had Mark Hone purring on the radio. Suddenly, it looked like we were getting prime Ted, ready to help push Mark Kennedy’s Imps up the league.

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There were issues – he was being played as a wide forward instead of an attacking midfield, so we never really saw him in his preferred role. Then, 33 minutes into our 2-0 win against Derby County, disaster struck. He was injured, hobbling off to be replaced by Tashan Oakley-Boothe (his best game in a City shirt), and we didn’t see Ted until November, and for just one game. Then he appeared twice in December but couldn’t shake off the injuries. Despite being labelled incorrectly as injury-prone in his first season, he was blighted in his second season.

He did give us a taster of what we’d missed – a goal and an assist against Accrington when gone two games without a goal, but it’s fair to say he struggled last season. Constantly played out of position, we didn’t get to see how effective he could be centrally, and when he was injured again against Cheltenham, I think many wrote him off. I confess I did.

Still, with 31 matches across the season, and league 1559 minutes, he still played more than five of his seasons at Ipswich. Also, he still had a 63.5% dribble success, 25th overall in the division and, for the second season running, the best at the club.


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That brings us to this season. It’s mad; in a podcast earlier in the year, when Chris and I were going through the squad, neither of us had Ted as a key player or, indeed, part of the first XI. His time spent injured and perceived ineffectiveness, given how he was always played out of position, had me writing him off. I was convinced he’d be one who left through mutual consent, but he proved me wrong. Four games in, he had two goals and an assist and looked red hot. However, once again, he was played out of position – he got 23 minutes as a central attacking midfield from the bench against Northampton but was otherwise played out wide. He is not a winger.

Michael Skubala coming in was a big moment because since then, he has only played out wide for two 30-minute spells. Otherwise, he’s been deployed in midfield, and it’s coincided with his apparent return to form. It’s crazy because, looking back at his dribble stats, he’s clearly been great on the ball throughout his time here, and that hasn’t changed. His dribble success is actually down this season – 62%, but he’s still 25th in the division and the top dribbler on our books. Incidentally, in his last season with us, Jorge Grant’s dribble success was 58% (yes, I know there’s more to it than that, but it’s a point worth making).

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In terms of minutes, he’s currently on 1487 for the season (in the league), meaning 72 minutes against Port Vale will see him surpass last season with plenty to spare. He’s clearly frightening opponents now he’s in his preferred position – up to (and including) the Derby game, he’d been fouled 17 times – in his past four matches alone, he’s been fouled 13 times. Under Michael Skubala, he’s had 18 touches in the penalty area; under Mark Kennedy, he had six, and three of those came in the same game (Cheltenham).

The outcome I’ve arrived at is this – we’re not just seeing the best of Ted Bishop now; we’re getting the best, and that’s a different thing altogether. I did a piece on the players I felt would be revitalised under our new Head Coach, and I didn’t pick Ted. Perhaps I was blinded to the rather indifferent form the autumnal months brought, blinded by the fact he wasn’t performing but ignoring him being out of position.

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One thing should never have been in doubt –  a fit and firing Ted Bishop in his right position is a top-end League One, a borderline Championship player. Michael Appleton once said to me, ‘How Ted Bishop isn’t playing in the Championship, I’ll never know‘. Jimmy Walker waxed lyrical when he first signed, and we all hoped after an explosive August 2022 that we were going to see the best of him. It felt like a conundrum: how do you get the best out of Ted?

It turns out that playing him in his favoured position was the all-too-simple answer.