He was probably the ugliest player in the Premier League before
Luke Chadwick came on the scene (certainly the one with the largest
ears - and I should know!), David Hopkin was a key part of Leeds
hopes and plans for the future under George Graham. As he proved in
the play-off final for Palace, he knows how to find the goal as well
as being a dominating force in the middle of the park. We were
expecting a lot from our latest ginger-haired Scots midfielder.
With strong competition for the midfield places (and with GG
occasionally playing tactics that completely bypass the middle of the
park), Hopkin did not figured as strongly as he would have hoped in
97-98 season, missing a couple of games through illness and
suspension and being subbed before the end quite a bit.
In 98-99, he became a regular in the starting line-up, but there
was still stiff competition for places and continued speculation about
signings. His scoring record dropped off a bit: he had an excellent
rate at Palace, but was a lot less prolific for Leeds.
Under David O'Leary, he was in and out of the midfield at the start
of the 1999-2000 season before an operation which kept him out for
nearly two months. The fact that he could barely make it onto the
bench when he returned - even with no David Batty around - marked
his card, and after talk about a move away from Elland Road in the
summer he went to Bradford. Injury ravaged his time at Valley Parade,
and he returned to London to help keep Palace in Division 1 where
he has come back to something of his old self - albeit in a lower
division. At the start of the 2002 season, he was released by Palace
and returned to Morton on a free transfer.
Brian D says: When Hoppy was playing for the Mighty Morton at
Clydebank, the keeper made a good diving save touching the ball onto
the bar before he fell to the ground. As the keeper lay there Hoppy
headed the rebound (as per the manual) down - straight to the grateful
keeper. I then declared (or words to that effect ) he would never make
it. I am glad I had to eat my words - the boy done good.
Anon says: Now owns the Gift Box Newsagents in Greenock and does a
bit of Boys Club coaching.