Barnet have signed midfielder Neal Bishop from York City.
Bishop comes on a free transfer from the Conference side after rejecting a new contract because he wanted to be payed the same as the club’s current highest earners. But now he has turned his back on the club he hoped to agree terms with to move to a Football League club.
Bishop played a major part in York’s season in which they reached the play-offs, only to be knocked out by eventual winners Morecambe, and was also part of the England National Game XI squad, led by Paul Fairclough, who cruised to Four Nations victory at the end of the 06/07 season a couple of weeks ago.
Fairclough described his new 25 year old singing as ‘a dynamic and hungry player, eager to show that he has a career in the Football League. He was instrumental in York’s success as shown by both the Players and Supporters of York City voting for him, as they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Football League.’
‘Neal is excited about joining Barnet Football Club and helping them gain promotion this season,’ as the Bees hope to celebrate their centenary season at Underhill in style.
And Barnet beat conference side Oxford United, fellow League rivals Bury and Scottish Premier Division side Gretna in the race to sign the central midfielder.
York said in late May: ‘I’ve turned down the new deal because it was not what I was after. I wasn’t one of the best-paid players at the club last season and I still wouldn’t be under the terms of the new contract.
‘I feel I had a half-decent season and I wouldn’t ask for massive money because I know the club haven’t got it. I just want to be treated the same as the other lads,’ he insisted. Barnet obviously gave him the security he needed in terms of the financial contract.
But it seems clear that Barnet beat a few other teams to get the signature of Bishop, who admitted speaking to other clubs: ‘I spoke to a few clubs in the Football League, Conference and Scotland before I went away with England but I did not want to agree anything. I still hope something can be sorted out at York.
‘I’ve had a call from a Gretna scout, spoken to Bury and Oxford also gave me a ring.’
York won the Player of the Season award from both his fellow players and the fans, but despite a good season with The Minstermen, he knows he can still improve.
‘I only got four goals which I can improve on and, even though last season was my best ever, I still think I can do better.’ At 25 years of age, he has definately got enough time to improve his game and prove he is up to the level required to take Barnet to the third tier of English Football.