Right back Bobby McNeil was born in Bellshill near Hamilton, located on the eastern outskirts of Glasgow, but served his apprenticeship at Hull City starting in 1979. He made his first team debut in September 1980, deputising for experienced regular full back Gordon Nisbet, and signed professional terms two months later. When City signed Steve Hoolickin from Carlisle in December 1980 to replace the departed Nisbet, McNeil’s chances of first team action at right back were limited although he did briefly deputise for Dennis Booth in the left back role. It wasn’t until October 1981 that McNeil had a lengthy run in the first team, replacing Hoolickin at right back as the experienced Mancunian battled with a heart condition that led to his retirement. By late February 1982 McNeil was again out of the first team picture as manager Mike Smith came to the end of his tenure.
When Colin Appleton was installed as City manager in the summer of 1982 he saw potential in Bobby, who by now was apporaching his 20th birthday, and installed him as first choice right back for much of the season until he was briefly replaced in April 1983 by ex-England defender Emlyn Hughes, whose experience and influence helped City win promotion out of Division Four. McNeil was restored as first choice right back at the start of the 1983/84 season with the Tigers elevated to the Third Division – he was an ever-present in the league and missed only two games in all competitions, both early rounds of the Associate Members’ Cup. He scored goals in a 5-0 drubbing of Millwall, a 2-1 defeat at faraway Exeter and a 3-1 win over Bournemouth, contributing to City’s rise up the table under Appleton that led to missing out on promotion by the narrowest of margins when Burnley were beaten only 2-0 in the last game of the season (a 3-0 win was required). He also scored in the Associate Members’ Cup Final against Bournemouth in late-May, which City lost 2-1. When Brian Horton took over the reins in the summer of 1984 Dale Roberts was initially preferred to McNeil at right back, though he did win his place back from November 1984 onwards. It was therefore a surprise when McNeil was not offered a new contract in the 1985 close season and left the Tigers on a free transfer.
After initially joined Blackpool on non-contract terms and not appearing for the Tangerines’ first team, McNeil returned east and joined Lincoln City in October 1985. Within two months, and after 4 starts for the Red Imps, McNeil joined Preston North End in December 1985 where he spent a season and a half amassing 50 starts in all competitions and assisting Preston to promotion out of the Fourth Division in May 1987. Once again McNeil was not offered a renewed contract and he moved north to join Carlisle United. After 19 appearances for the Cumbrians McNeil was released In February 1988 and he dropped out the senior leagues to spend the next seven years seeing out his career in the non-league scene. After football McNeil became a police officer in the Hull area.
Date/Place of Birth: 1 November 1962, Bellshill
Hull City First Game: 13 September 1980, Blackpool A (Division Three), 17 years, 317 days old
Hull City Final Game: 23 April 1985, Preston North End A (Division Three), 22 years, 173 days old
Hull City (1979-1985), Blackpool (1985), Lincoln City (1985), Preston North End (1985-1987), Carlisle United (1987-1988), Bridlington Town (1988), North Ferriby United (1988), Scarborough (1988), Rochdale (1988), Bridlngton Town (1988-1993), Hall Road Rangers (1993), Goole Town (1993-1994), North Ferriby United (1994-1995)
Hull City Record
Career: 168 apps, 4 goalsBobby McNeil
|1980/81||14 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1981/82||21 (0)||0||6 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1982/83||30 (3)||0||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1983/84||46 (0)||3||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||4 (0)||1|
|1984/85||24 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|