Having established himself as a regular in the Ostersunds line-up after three seasons at the club, Jamie Hopcutt headed into the 2015 season as one his side’s key players as they aimed for their first ever promotion to Sweden’s top tier.
He did not disappoint and under the stewardship of manager and fellow Englishman Graham Potter, Hopcutt finished as the league’s second top scorer as Ostersunds finished second and earned promotion to the Allsvenskan.
Hopcutt’s importance to Ostersunds has increased with every year he has spent with the side. After joining in 2012, his first three seasons saw an increase in goals every year: three, six and then nine in the 2014 campaign.
He was not only Ostersunds’ Mr. Dependable (in 2013 he didn’t miss a single league match) but he was also able to drive on the rest of his teammates with his commanding performances from midfield.
However, 2015 saw the York-born midfielder take his game to another level. With coach Potter continuing to exert his influence over the side, Hopcutt took promotion into his own hands when deployed in a more advanced central role.
Capable of scoring goals from inside the box, often arriving inside the 18-yard-box with immaculate timing, the 23-year-old is also equally adept of firing in strikes from outside the box as well as ending mazy runs with impressive finishes (his first goal in the 4-0 drubbing of GAIS in October is testament to this).
It took Hopcutt three matches to open his account in 2015 but this would not be a sign of things to come. Fourteen more goals followed (including a hat-trick back in August) in his remaining 21 appearances of 2015 as his goals saw Ostersunds finish as the league’s top scorers. However, they could not prevent his side agonisingly missing out on the Superettan title by just a single point.
Highlights from Ostersunds’ 5-1 win over Utsikten in August, the game in which Hopcutt fired a hat-trick.
Not that Hopcutt didn’t do all he could to guide his side to the title – he fired five goals in the last four matches of the season.
When Graham Potter persuaded Hopcutt to sign for Ostersunds in 2012, the side were then playing in Sweden’s third tier and attracting around the 1,000 fans per game. Now the side will be looking to repeat some of the 6,500 sell-outs they achieved last season as they take part in the top tier of Swedish football for the very first time.
However, even though the 6,500 sell outs will seem like a vast change from Hopcutt’s early days in Sweden, the country’s top tier has clubs with the ability to attract over 20,000 fans, a far cry from the midfielder’s youth days with York City.
Hopcutt failed to get his chance with York but he is making up for that now, especially after he was crowned as the Superettan’s best player last year.
2015 saw Hopcutt become Ostersunds’ star man. Promotion as well as his 15 goals were a fantastic return from just 24 league games, 20 of which were starts.
2016 will see the hard work really start. Hopcutt will be under pressure to reproduce his impressive form in the top tier against Swedish giants such as Champions League side Malmo. With Potter’s backing though, the 23-year-old has a great chance of making the step-up as seamless as possible.