Merthyr Tydfil born outside right Idris “Dai” Hopkins played football at an amateur level for New Road Amateurs in 1925 and Gellyfaelog Amateurs in 1926 before spells at Football League sides Merthyr Town and Sheffield Wednesday in 1927 and 1929 respectively, without making the first eleven at either club. He returned to non-league football with Dartford in 1930 and Ramsgate Press Wanderers in 1931. He moved on to Crystal Palace in 1932 where he made his Football League debut against Watford in October that year and had played only 4 games before being transferred to Brentford in November 1932.
It was at Brentford where he established himself as a footballer as part of their greatest ever team. In his first season Brentford won the Third Division (South) Championship. Hopkins then missed only one game in the next 4 seasons, scoring a career best 21 goals in 1933-34 as Brentford finished 4th in the Second Division, followed the next season by 16 goals as they won the Second Division Championship. He was an old fashioned inside forward with two good feet and a determined attitude. Between 1932 and 1947 and he made 314 peacetime appearances, scoring 80 goals to which he added over 200 appearances and 49 goals during the Second World War, when he also made two appearances for West Ham United as a guest player.
Hopkins was capped 12 times for Wales, scoring twice, playing in the British Home Championships between November 1934, when he made his debut against Scotland at Pittodrie and March 1939, and undoubtedly he would have won more caps if it hadn’t been for World War Two. He also made 9 appearances for Wales in wartime internationals scoring once between November 1939 and May 1944. During his international career he played against such greats as Cliff Bastin, Stanley Matthews and Tommy Lawton. Perhaps the most notable match he appeared in was Wales 4-2 victory over England in 1938 at Ninian Park as part of the 1939 British Home Championship. Hopkins was amongst the scorers for Wales.
In 1946 Brentford resumed League football in Division One, and with Hopkins as club captain were relegated to Division Two, the last time that Brentford were in the top flight of English football. In May 1947 he left Brentford and signed for Bristol City where he played 27 times before retiring in 1948 at the age of 40.