Leeds United F.C. History
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1919-29 - The Twenties
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100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
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Hopkin: David

1997-2000 (Leeds Player Details) (Player Details)


Born: Greenock: 21-08-1970

Debut: Arsenal (h): 09-08-1997

6’0” 13st (2003)

Ginger-haired Hopkins started with Port of Glasgow Boys Club before joining his hometown team Morton in July 1989. He had a trial with Sheffield United in 1991 but after scoring seven goals in fifty-two games, comprising four goals in thirty-three starts and fifteen games from the bench in the Scottish League, one goal in two starts in the Scottish Cup and two goals in two starts in the Scottish League Cup, he left Morton for Chelsea at a fee of £300,000 on 25th September 1992. In almost three years at Stamford Bridge he scored once in forty-six appearances without really establishing himself in the first team. Indeed, his one goal was scored in the League, in which he made nineteen of his forty appearances as a substitute and two of his five F.A. Cup appearances were from the bench, as was his only League Cup appearance. Conspicuous by his tattoos and shock of red hair, Hopkin made an impressive debut in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool on 10th February 1993, one of few impressive performers in a truly dire match. Not surprisingly he kept his place for the following weekend's visit of Aston Villa, but Chelsea lost, manager Ian Porterfield was sacked and his caretaker replacement, David Webb, surprisingly opted to replace him with the woefully out-of-form Robert Fleck on the right wing, selecting Hopkin for just two substitute appearances in the final three months of the season. He fared little better under new manager Glenn Hoddle when the former England man took over that summer, not helpedby the fact that Hoddle preferred a three-five-two formation with the full backs pushed on as wing-backs. Hopkin was given his first opportunity to impress when he replaced the suspended Dennis Wise for a trip to Aston Villa but was immediately dropped after a 1-0 defeat that continued a disappointing start to what was a poor league campaign. He was given further opportunities either side of Christmas but, in line with the vast majority of the team, he was regularly out-of-sorts and only rarely showed glimpses of what he was capable of. Perhaps his most significant moment in a Chelsea shirt came when he crossed for Gavin Peacock to score the goal against Wolves which took Chelsea into their first FA Cup semi-final for twenty-four years but by the time the final came around, Hopkin was on the sidelines. There was little change in his fortunes the following season. Hoddle signed David Rocastle just prior to the start of the season, putting another obstacle in Hoppy's way, and it wasn't until late October that he resurfaced in the first-team. There was further frustration in the fact that a FIFA ruling meant that he was considered a foreign player and he was therefore not selected for any of Chelsea's European Cup Winners Cup matches as the Blues made it to the semi-finals. He did, however, benefit in part from the European run as he found himself being recalled to the squad for the weekend matches following the European ties as Hoddle looked to rest players. He scored his only goal for the club with a header in a 3-3 draw at Everton in May but it was little more than a swansong. Sporadic appearances were barely adequate for a man who had travelled south in the hope of making a name for himself and he played his last game for the club in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on the final day of the season before joining Crystal Palace on 29th July 1995 for £850,000 and going on to perform well at the highest level for both club and country. He starred on the Eagles' right-flank for two seasons in the mid 1990s making an important contribution to Palace's progress. Strong running and possessing a prodigious long throw-in, Hopkin was a huge asset to the club's cause and had a flair for scoring spectacular goals. This talent was never better demonstrated than in the 1997 play-offs. For the second year in a row Palace only needed a win at Wembley to win promotion to the Premiership and David produced a fantastic moment in Palace history that supporters will always remember him for. With the match against Sheffield United scoreless and with only a minute to go until full-time Palace won a corner that was headed clear to him, twenty yards from goal. He controlled the ball with his left foot before curling an unstoppable shot past Simon Tracey in the Blades goal much to the delight of the 30,000 or so Eagles fans present. Hopkin won the club “Player of the Year” and was awarded full international honours for Scotland in 1997 but to the disappointment of everybody at Selhurst Park he moved to Leeds United on 21st July 1997 for a fee of £3.25million. He had scored thirty goals in ninety-nine appearances in his first spell with Palace. He scored twenty-one League goals in eighty-three games of which just four were from the bench. There were no goals in the F.A. Cup from three starts, but he scored six times in six League Cup starts and three times in seven starts in play-offs and other games. Hopkin was called up by his country for the first time on 1st June 1997 for a 3-2 win over Malta in Ta Qali, when he started but was replaced by Scot Gemmell after fifty-six minutes. He added a second a week later when he was again a starter in Minsk in a World Cup qualifier when Scotland beat Belarus by the only goal of the game from Gary McAllister, but again he was substituted by Scot Gemmill after sixty-eight minutes. After joining Leeds he remained a Scotland squad regular until injuries interevened. He was a major contributor to a fine Scottish victory in the return leg with Belarus at Pittodrie, Aberdeen on 7th September 1997. Coming on as a fiftieth minute replacement for Gary McAllister, he scored the third and fourth Scottish goals in the fifty-fourth and eighty-eighth minutes as Scotland cruised to a 4-1 win. His fourth cap came as an eighty-ninth minute substitute for Gordon Durie in a 1-2 loss to France at St Etienne on 12th November 1997. He was selected for Scotland "B" at Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh on 21st April 1998, his only appearance at that level. There was a full game for his fifth cap as Scotland defeated Czechoslovakia in a European Championship Qualifier at Parkhead on 31st March 1999. In the same competition there was another full game in Sarajevo as Scotland beat Bosnia and Herzegovina by 2-1 on 4th September 1999. His seventh and final full Scotland cap came in the reverse leg against the same country at Ibrox on 5th October 1999, when he played a full game as the home side ran out 1-0 winners. He was a key part of Leeds hopes and plans for the future under George Graham. He knew how to find the goal as well as being a dominating force in the middle of the park. There was also a strong expectation from the fans, who had seen him outplay Lee Bowyer when the two clubs had met in the League Cup in the previous season. With strong competition for the midfield places, and with George Graham occasionally playing tactics that completely bypassed the middle of the park, Hopkin did not figured as strongly as he would have hoped in 1997-98 season, missing a couple of games through illness and suspension and often being replaced by substitutes later in the game. In 1998-99, 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 somewhat and though he had an excellent rate at Palace, it 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 David Batty absent, told him he was no really part of O’Leary’s plans, and after talk about a move away from Elland Road on 7th July 2000 he went to Bradford City for £2.5million. Injury ravaged his time at Valley Parade and he only played sixteen games without scoring. There were only eight League starts and three more from the bench and just one start in the League Cup, while he did start three, and came of the bench once, as City contested the Inter-Toto Cup at the beginning of the pre-season. On 15th March 2001 he returned to London, for £1.5million, to help keep Crystal Palace in Division One. He returned to something of his old self, albeit in a lower division. His form was one of the major factors in the club avoiding relegation to the Second Division that season. After scoring four times in thirty-one games in his second spell at the club, all four goals coming in the League, in which he started twenty-one and was used as a substitute eight times to add to his one start in the F.A. Cup and one substitute appearance in the League Cup, he was released by Palace on 31st August 2002 and returned to Morton on a free transfer. After scoring twice, once in the Scottish League and once in the Scottish League Cup in six Starts in the League and one in the League Cup, he retired on 14th November 2002 due to a recurring ankle injury. Hopkin and Derek Collins had a brief spell as joint caretaker manager at Morton when they occupied the dugout for a match against Albion Rovers. Hopkin made one appearance, against Berwick Rangers, as a seventy-sixth minute substituteon 4th October 2003 but it was his last. He became Assistant Manager at Port Glasgow FC. He owned the Gift Box Newsagents in Greenock and did a bit of coaching at Port Glasgow Boys Club. Hopkin won seven caps for Scotland and scored twice, he also played for Scotland “B” once.

League 64/96
F.A. Cup 60
League Cup 70
Europe 6/10