Imps’ bid for Tom Hopper accepted: Analysis

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Ok, I know I’m a little late to the party and unlikely to add anything too groundbreaking to what you already know, but it’s transfer season so I wanted to at least post something on here.

Southend released a statement saying:

Last week the Club were approached by Lincoln City with an offer to sign Tom Hopper. The Club refused the first and subsequent offer but has now agreed terms and given consent for Lincoln to talk to Tom.

Whilst Southend United do not welcome the approach, we equally recognise our league position can often attract interest.

Additionally, it is also recognised that all players wish to compete at the highest level and at this time the Club does not wish to stand in Tom’s way.

The Club is already in discussions to reinforce the squad and which includes a striker with a view to strengthening the first team, not simply for the current season but next year too.

Before we moved on to the player, this is an interesting statement. Firstly, it seems to suggest that they feel we are now the ‘bigger’ club. Considering it was Southend who snatched Theo Robinson from us in 2017 and considering Tom Hopper was close to signing for us before getting his League One offer in 2018, this is just further proof of how far we’ve come. Southend fans won’t be happy of course and rightly so; this is almost an admission of defeat by their club. They’re still a League One side and up until a month ago perhaps we were their relegation rivals. If the boot was on the other foot, we’d be spitting feathers.

Moved to Roots Hall – Courtesy Graham Burrell

Also, the wording is very odd. Southend clearly don’t want to sell the player but their media team could do with a bit of conditioning on how to release that information. They come across fairly badly in this statement and I imagine a lot of their fans are unhappy with how it has been worded.

Boston born and, at one point, Lincoln-based, Tom Hopper was a target for Danny Cowley before he signed his deal with Southend United.

Firstly, let’s get the bad bit out of the way. Hopper was one of three players sacked by Leicester City once the ‘racist orgy’ video emerged a few of years ago. As a young player, he made a bad choice and paid the ultimate price. Up until then, he’d been on a collision course with stardom, rising through the Leicester ranks after joining them from Boston United. Right now, I won’t pass comment on that because it isn’t a savoury incident but people do rehabilitate and learn from their mistakes. I appreciate, for some, this is an emotive subject and I wouldn’t dismiss it offhand, nor would I want a young man to spend his entire life burdened by the mistakes he made any more than he is.

Since then, he’s got his head down and worked hard, again not ever proving to be prolific but still forging a decent career. He had three seasons playing for the Iron, all of which have seen him score goals, 8,6 and 7 respectively. It was noted by a Scunthorpe fan I know that he played a key role in their push for promotion to the Championship as a provider as much as a scorer.

He was on the cusp of leaving Scunthorpe on loan in January 2018, to us I was told at the time, only to bag in consecutive games and convince them to keep him around. However, at the end of the season, he was on the move once more and despite our interest, he chose Southend. He ripped it up for them early doors, scoring seven in 14, but an injury in October ruled him out for a year. When he came back this season, again in October, he hit three goals in 16 appearances, the last of which came in December against Bristol Rovers. It’s worth noting, of course, he’s playing for arguably the worst Southend side in a generation and his stats won’t scream out at us because they’re doing so badly.

The latest last night was Hopper was in talks with us, but no movement is expected immediately as there are still personal terms to be agreed with the club, but that a transfer could happen before the window closes.

4 Comments

  1. Gary, its 4.5 years since the Thailand incident and the sacking from Leicester City; not a couple of years. It was summer 2015, just after the Foxes avoided relegation from the Premiership, with a late run. It was a few months before Nigel Pearson was also sacked. (Arguably it was Nigel who won the Premiership title in 2015-16, not Ranieri who took over)

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