Hobson, County Durham born left half Bobby McNeal began his football career with junior club Hobson Wanderers in August 1907 and was signed by Second Division West Bromwich Albion from Hobson Wanderers in June 1910, making his Football League debut against Leeds City in October 1910, playing 29 games that season as West Brom won the Second Division Championship. The following season he played 8 cup ties as Albion went all the way to the FA Cup Final where they drew in the Final with Barnsley at The Crystal Palace before losing the replay at Bramall Lane in extra time in a substantial Cup shock, which to this day remains Barnsley’s only major trophy.
McNeal earned two England caps during the 1914 British Home Championship, playing the two final England internationals before the onset of World War One, he was one of four England players to win their first cap on 16th March 1914 as Wales were defeated 2-0 at Ninian Park. His second and final cap came on 14th April as Scotland ran out 3-1 winners at Hampden Park. He also appeared for The Football League five times in representative matches between 1912 and 1914.
During the First World War he appeared as a guest player for Fulham, Middlesbrough, Notts County and Port Vale, and helped Fulham beat Chelsea in the Victory Cup Final at Highbury in 1918. He played both sides of the War for The Baggies, being ever present as Albion were crowned League Champions in 1920, also winning The Charity Shield with victory over Tottenham Hotspur later in 1920. By the time he played his last game in December 1924 before retirement through injury the following May, he had scored 9 goals in 401 career appearances. From 1926 to 1927, McNeal served as Albion’s coach on a part-time basis.