Versatile Welshman who fitted in at left back, his preferred position, but could also play at centre-half or in midfield if required.
Signed from Swansea Town in May 1951 as a 15 year old after attending a trial with 40 other boys and was offered a £3 a week apprenticeship. Although he found his way to the left back position barred by Charlie Withers and Arthur Willis, he didn't have to wait long until those two stalwarts had given way and as a 17 year old he was a regular in the side and had upped his earnings to £20 a week, while living in digs near Lincoln Road, Enfield. However, Mel later found Ron Henry as his big competition for the left back spot, but despite all the others wanting to play there, he still made 220 games on the left side of defence.
Spending four seasons in the left back berth after replacing Withers, Hopkins showed good positional sense and a strong, fearless tackle making him one of the most highly regarded full backs in the country. Being a youngster in the side did not phase him, bringing him experience at a time when the team were not doing so well and then shining under the management of Jimmy Anderson and Bill Nicholson before injury struck.
Hopkins broke his nose and upper jaw in November 1959 while playing for Wales in a collision with Scotland's Ian St. John and he was out of the side for two years, during which time Ron Henry took his place in the team. Establishing himself in the team, Mel found it increasingly difficult to displace him when fit again, thus he became the back-up full back on either side of the pitch.
Having already played at the World Cup finals in 1958 with Wales - reaching the quarter finals, Mel was very unlucky to miss out during the Double season, Hopkins stayed with Tottenham and played through to the mid-1960s, before leaving to continue his career with Brighton and Hove Albion, a very short stay at Ballymena United and then ending his playing days with Bradford Park Avenue, who dropped out of the league when they failed to gain re-election at the end of the 1969-70 season.
In the early 1970s, Mel lived at Shoreham-by-Sea and worked as a sports teacher at the Dorothy Stringer Secondary School in Brighton, coached works teams three nights a week and was appointed as Secretary of the Sussex Coaches Association. He was a regular attendee at Spurs home games and worked in the Spurs Legends lounge at the game, as well as other duties as a match-day host.
Mel Hopkins died on 19th October 2010 in a hospice in Worthing following illness.