Great Britain

Lincoln star Tom Hopper opens up on how filmed sex orgy with three Thai prostitutes in 2015 forced him to ‘mature’

TOM HOPPER learned a painful lesson from a night of stupidity in Thailand.

Never take your career for granted.

The Lincoln forward,  26, deeply regrets getting caught up in a filmed sex orgy in 2015.

It also involved his then Leicester team-mates Adam Smith and James Pearson with three Thai prostitutes on an end-of-season tour.

All three players were sent home in disgrace and sacked by the club.

It sparked national outrage —  but since that night in a Bangkok hotel, Hopper has turned his career around.

And tonight he will play in the biggest game of his life against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup third round.

He admitted: “I had to grow up quickly. It was my first realisation of life and that your career can change for the worst in an instant.

It was a case of keeping a low profile, being humble and focusing on football. The whole thing gave me a real perspective in life and I’ve matured as a result.

“I owe a lot to Mark Robins and Scunthorpe as a club because they signed me and gave me a chance when maybe others wouldn’t.

“I’m not going to kid anyone by saying it was easy to cope with the fallout of what happened.

“It  definitely took time for me to get going again.

“It was a case of keeping a low profile, being humble and focusing on football.

“The whole thing gave me a real perspective in life and I’ve matured as a result.”

Hopper, who was 21, has sympathy with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, 18, and City’s Phil Foden, 20.

The pair were caught smuggling two Icelandic women into Eng­land’s team  hotel earlier this month.

Hopper said: “The spotlight is on footballers. We are mad about the sport as a nation so it comes with the territory.

“We must accept mistakes we make will be highlighted because we’re supposed to be role models.

“They’re young and will learn from their errors. It’ll help them in the future.”

Hopper is  widely respected for the way he has atoned.

My advice to any young footballer is, ‘Don’t take football for granted’. Football is only getting harder with fewer chances because of the amount of foreign players who are over here.

At Scunthorpe, Southend and now Lincoln, he has always passionately supported community projects.

He was involved in making calls  to vulnerable members of  Lincoln’s community in lockdown  — and is popular among fans, players and club staff alike.

One Southend source said: “He’s one of the nicest and most sincere men you’ll  meet.”

Hopper also suffered the nightmare of rupturing his cruciate ligaments shortly after joining Southend in 2018 and was out for an entire year.

And the striker,  who had scored seven  in his 14 games up to that point, said: “That was the other dark moment of my career.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to play again. Scoring in my first start after  one year, at Tranmere, was  the highest moment of my career.

“My advice to any young footballer is, ‘Don’t take football for granted’.

“Football is only getting harder with fewer chances now because of the amount of foreign players who are over here.”

Facing the English champions at Sincil Bank will be  special,  but Hopper is gutted fans will not be there.

He  was injured when Scunthorpe played Chelsea away in the FA Cup four years ago.

Hopper added:  “Everything that comes with playing Liverpool is amazing.

“It’s a chance you don’t get too often in your career and it’s great to just  soak it in.” 

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