Esh Winning, County Durham born centre half Bill “Pop” Hopkins started his football career with his home town team Esh Winning Rangers in 1904 before joining Crook Town in 1907. He then had an unsuccessful trial with Derby County before returning to Esh Winning Rangers in 1910 and later joined Stanley United in 1912 before signing for First Division Sunderland in May 1912. He made his Football League debut at Liverpool in September 1913 and had played ten games for The Wearsiders before the Football League was suspended for the duration of the First World War in 1915.
Sunderland were one of the clubs that refused to play football while the War was in progress and their players guested with other clubs. On resumption of the Football League Hopkins was signed by Leeds City for £50 in July 1919. He was unfortunate enough to choose Leeds and soon found himself embroiled in the demise of the club. He had played seven of the eight games that City played in the 1919-20 season before they were banned from the Football League for financial irregularities and was then one of the players who were auctioned at the Metropole Hotel being sold to Second Division South Shields for £600 in October 1919. He stayed with them for almost two seasons scoring twice in 65 appearances.
He joined Third Division (North) Hartlepools United in June 1921 and played in their inaugural game in the Football League at Wrexham on 27th August 1921 which was won 2-0. He played his final game of 56 for The Monkey Hangers, scoring in a 2-0 win at home to Grimsby Town on 28th April 1923. He then joined Third Division (North) club Durham City in August 1923, where he spent two seasons scoring 5 goals in 57 appearances, becoming the Durham City coach from August 1924. After retiring from playing he was assistant trainer at Sheffield United, and then trainer at Charlton Athletic before becoming Grimsby Town’s trainer in June 1931. He became Port Vale’s trainer in 1935 and Barnsley’s trainer in 1936. He died suddenly on 26th January 1938 at Blackpool, aged 49 while preparing Barnsley for a Fourth Round FA Cup replay against Manchester United.