1975 - LES HOPGOOD
Although Les Hopgood had spent all of his playing days with Carrum, he did initially develop an association with Chelsea via the involvement of two sons Paul, and Travis, who both played in the junior teams.
A stronger connection occurred in 1975 when older brother Noel, now well entrenched back at Chelsea, notified him that he was to coach the fourth eighteen. There was no application or interview, just a statement of fact.
Les came to the first training session and introduced himself to the players and proceeded to do the job.
His first outing for the season was a sharp wake-up call as the team copped a twenty goal thrashing from Frankston.
However, with great parental support, a receptive and talented playing group and some recruits from Chelsea Heights, Les was able to mould a team that improved to such an extent that they became premiers with a stirring win over Carrum come September.
Les stayed with his team for four years, following them through into the 3rds competition in 1977, a year in which they once again won the pennant despite trailing at three quarter time. Those who were there say that his address to the players at the last break was one of the most stirring that they had ever heard. Inspired, his young team responded to the call, coming home winners by 14 points over a very strong Edithvale-Aspendale team.
And Les’ advice to aspiring junior coaches:
“You only win flags from the bottom end. If you don’t understand what this means don’t bother applying.”