A fourth placed finish in the league, with the best away record in the division. The NPL’s leading scorers, boasting three players in the top ten goal-scorers, whilst conceding fewer than a goal a game, extending the pairs stay at the Northolme couldn’t be questioned. As the ink dries on the one-year contract extension, Bish insisted:
"I’m delighted to commit to Gainsborough for next season. Obviously, it’s taken a bit longer than would have been ideal, but there have been circumstances beyond our control that have affected things. I think everyone knows about the off-pitch issues which blighted the club last season, but let’s hope that’s well behind us now. Hopefully we can build on the foundations of last season. However it’s important to realise that we face a massive challenge to repeat last season’s success. While we are not going to be able to compete financially with a lot of the clubs, I believe we will be more than competitive again."
"After taking some time to reflect, I cannot understate the achievement of finishing 4th last season. However, next season is a blank canvas and last year’s league position counts for nothing."
Bishop begins his third season at the club, having initially joined as a Player/Coach under former Head Coach, Tom Shaw. Playing virtually every game of the 2021/22 season in much the same way Clayton Donaldson has done for Trinity this season) Bish became something of a fan’s favourite with his all-action displays. Starting in the midfield engine room, Bishop found himself using his experience at the heart of the Gainsborough defence.
As he looked at the reason why he should extend his stay, Neil looked no further than the support as his decision to remain at the helm, paying tribute to the Trinity family:
"I would like to thank the supporters for all their good will last season, and since I’ve been at this club, it’s a massive part of the reason I have chosen to stay and hopefully, we can give you all plenty of reasons to smile in the next campaign! The hard work begins now."
When Shaw opted to take up a First Team Coaching position at Lincoln City, Neal was seen as the right man to take Trinity forward. Demonstrating the continuity that was needed, as the Holy Blues looked to continue moving away from journeymen players that are just in it for one final pay day, and with that criteria, Bish (and at the start of the season, Damon Parkinson) set about continuing to recruit young, hungry, up and coming players that wanted to develop and improve.
Damo’s ill health saw him take a step away from the football club, and latterly the Foundation, shortly after the first Long Eaton Emirates FA Cup game, returning (living) legend, Darryn Stamp was brought in as Assistant Manager to Bishop, with Trinity winning Darryn’s first game in the dugout, the 3-1 home win over Barwell. The management duo went on to manage 36 games together, winning sixteen and drawing eleven of those games, scoring 63 goals in the process. If they were all league games, that would have totalled 63 points, with a plus 23 goal difference. Certainly solid foundations on which to build on.
Stamp, who returned to the club after a period out of the game, following his departure from North Ferriby United back in 2017, recently appeared in the Gainsborough Trinity Legends vs Gainsborough All Stars Chairity Match, as part of the club’s 150th Year Anniversary celebrations. A game in which he netted a hat-trick, leading the All Stars to a 4-2 victory on a sun-soaked afternoon at the Northolme. Stampy was selected, having accrued 186 Trinity appearances, doing plenty to further enhance his stock with the Trinity faithful.
Today’s news that both are committing their future to the Holy Blues is news that will get the Gainsborough faithful hungry for success, and excited for the 2023/24 season, despite last season technically only finishing eleven days ago!
Press release by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)