Moneyfields FC footballer Stanlie Hopkins completes very own miracle after returning playing just 12 weeks after brutal Cosham attack

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One of Stanlie Hopkins' first fears after coming out of a coma, having been the victim of a brutal pub car park attack, was never being able to play football again.

The footballing fear entered his mind while he was laid up in a Southampton General Hospital bed.

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At that stage, the thinking of most subjected to such an assault would surely be on their first walking steps again and the long road to recovery ahead in order just to get back to normal life.

Moneyfields' Stanlie Hopkins, left, was back playing within 12 weeks of being viciously assaulted in a pub car park.

Picture: Keith WoodlandMoneyfields' Stanlie Hopkins, left, was back playing within 12 weeks of being viciously assaulted in a pub car park.

Picture: Keith Woodland
Moneyfields' Stanlie Hopkins, left, was back playing within 12 weeks of being viciously assaulted in a pub car park. Picture: Keith Woodland

But Hopkins - a regular for Moneyfields' reserve team in the Hampshire Premier League - was already thinking multiple steps ahead.

Leaving hospital just six days after the October attack - having first been told it could be up to six weeks before he was cleared to go home - offered a sign of the tenacity and inner fight of the 28-year-old self-employed groundworker.

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‘When I came out of my coma the first thing I said to my missus was, ‘I’m never going to be able to play football again,’ he told The News.

‘When I woke up and I had my chest cut right open where I had open heart surgery, the first thing I thought they’d put something in (around the heart) which wouldn’t let me play again.

‘I’m very lucky to survive, there was a chance I wasn’t going to survive, where I lost so much blood I had to have four blood transfusions.

‘I nearly lost all the blood out of my body, my blood pressure went through the roof and dropped, so that’s why they put me in a coma just so they could operate easy.

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‘At first, I thought I was never going to get better but as the days went past I was just feeling so much better in myself.'

Upon his release from hospital, Hopkins spent the best part of a month laid up in bed in a darkened room at his Southsea home, such was the severity of the concussion he suffered.

But as time passed, the former Pickwick Youth player managed short walks to the end of his road and within eight weeks of the assault he had managed to complete a 5k run.

Then, having returned to non-contact training with Moneyfields, Hopkins was given the all-clear by his shocked surgeon to return to normal life again.

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That led to him returning to full training for the first time on January 20 and two days later he was playing the full 90 minutes of a 9-1 Hampshire Premier League victory over Liss at Moneyfields’ Dover Road HQ.

Hopkins completed his second 90 minutes last weekend as Moneys defeated Clanfield 4-2 at Westleigh Park.

He continued: ‘My missus probably didn’t want me to play football again, she moans I’m always at football!

‘They were all going mental at me (family) because I was going out running. They (the surgeons) told me three months before I could do anything but after about eight weeks I tried it.

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‘I think it was the best thing I’ve ever done because I felt so much better in myself.

‘They (surgeons) told me it would be six to nine months minimum before I could even go back to work.

'Lee (Mould, Moneys reserve team manager) told me I wasn’t coming back until he got the go ahead from my surgeon and consultant so I made an appointment to go see them.

‘I had a chest X-ray, ECG and some scans and he (surgeon) pretty much said to me, ‘I don’t know how, but you’ve made a full recovery’. He was more than happy for me to go back to normal life with fitness, sports and stuff.'

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Such was the shock after learning one of their own had been so violently assaulted, Moneyfields' first-team and reserve side called off their scheduled midweek matches in the week of the attack.

He is grateful for all the help he has received from Moneyfields and the football family following the attack. He added: ‘It just took the stress off me (money raised). I’ve got babies, mortgage and paying all my bills - it just took the stress off me. I had loads of help, it was good and nice to see how nice everyone could be.'

Sammy Philpott, 36, pleaded not guilty to two counts of wounding with intent during a short appearance at Portsmouth Crown Court in November.