THE recent passing of Ted Hopkins has prompted a man to come forward with what he says is the famous long-sleeved No.7 guernsey worn by Hopkins on Grand Final day 1970.
David Neal, now 64, said he was a boy of 11 when the precious garment was given to him a fortnight after Hopkins emerged from the bunker as 19th man to boot four second-half goals and transform a 44-point deficit into a 10-point victory over Collingwood on the game’s greatest stage, the MCG.
The story begins in October 1970, on a day in which David, then on school holidays, followed his father to work.
Forever revered in @CarltonHistory.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) November 21, 2023
Ted Hopkins, the Carlton cult hero etched in history as a pivotal figure in the 1970 Grand Final, has passed away.
Vale, Ted. 💙🌹
“My father owned his own little trucking business and at the time delivered televisions and radiograms for AWA, which later amalgamated with Thorne. On school holidays I used to sit with Dad in the truck,” David said.
“One day a storeman - whose name I can’t remember, but who worked with my father - turned up at the warehouse on Springvale Road, Mulgrave. He was a really nice bloke and I got along with him really well.
“Anyway, it was two weeks or thereabouts after the game, I’d just turned 11, and I went to work with Dad - and this fellow turned up at the warehouse and said ‘I’ve got a present for you - it’s the jumper Teddy wore in the 1970 Grand Final day’. Well my eyes popped out of my head and I remember Dad saying: ‘don’t do anything with this guernsey. Look after it’.”
The guernsey is in rare condition after all these years, and for good reason. Because it was too large for David to wear, the item was tucked away in a cupboard where it effectively remained safely for all these years.
“In the time that I’ve had it it’s only been worn twice,” David said. “Once by my sister at a 1999 Grand Final day lunch, the other by my oldest son when he was in Grade Six to a football-themed activity at the school on the Friday before another Grand Final.
“Otherwise it was folded up and tucked away in a number of houses I’ve lived in over the years.”
Readily admitting that the guernsey had never entered his mind save for those two occasions, David felt compelled to alert the Club to its existence when he learned of Hopkins’ untimely passing on Monday at the age of 74.
Hopkins gave his No.7 Grand Final guernsey away years ago – and Neal has come forward to seek authentication of the garment, which to the naked eye appears to be in keeping with guernseys traditionally worn by Carlton footballers of Hopkins’ vintage.
David is also seeking a second opinion from those well-versed in confirming the authenticity (or otherwise) of such items.
He is yet to declare what he will do with the item.
The Club is mourning the passing of Jim Betson, a Board member from 1968-’76 which took in the Premiership seasons of 1968, ’70 and ’72.
Ian Collins, a member of the drought-breaking ’68 Premiership team and a future Carlton Chief Executive and President, remembered Betson as a Board appointee tasked with overseeing the club’s Victorian metropolitan development zones - in conjunction with Noel Brady who was employed by the Club.
“Jim was a great bloke. He was high up in education administration. He was understated, he worked hard behind the scenes and he was an efficient contributor. If memory serves both him and Noel Brady were up the road in the Coburg area,” Collins said.
“Jim headed up the metropolitan zoning portfolio before it was actually made official by the League, and Noel Brady worked in that area. Places like Jacana where Bruce Doull came from was growing, so there was a need.”