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Alan Hansen
Alan hansen in 2004.png
Personal information
Full name Alan David Hansen
Date of birth 13 June 1955 (1955-06-13) (age 54)
Place of birth Sauchie, Scotland
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Centre back (retired)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1977 Partick Thistle 086 0(6)[1]
1977–1991 Liverpool 434 0(8)
National team
1979–1987 Scotland 026 0(0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Alan David Hansen (born 13 June 1955 in Sauchie, Clackmannanshire, Scotland) is a Scottish former football player and BBC television football pundit. He played for Partick Thistle, Liverpool, and the Scottish national team. As a pundit, Hansen has acquired a reputation for his critical approach to the game, particularly in regards to defending.

Contents

Early life

Hansen's grandfather was Danish. He attended Lornshill Academy. In addition to his footballing talents he represented Scotland in volleyball, squash and water polo at junior level. Hansen received his scar from a volleyball-related incident, aged 17. Running late for a match, Hansen ran into a glass door. During his stay in hospital he had 27 stitches in his head. He sued the education authority and won.[2]

Playing career

Partick Thistle

Hansen turned down the opportunity to study at the University of Aberdeen, in order to join his brother John at Partick Thistle. During the summer while his application was being processed, he worked for six weeks in the offices of General Accident insurance — which he hated.[3] As a trainee, Hansen was watching in the Hampden Park stands as Partick Thistle, which included his brother John, upset firm favourites Celtic in the 1971 Scottish League Cup final, convincingly beating their illustrious counterparts 4–1. In the summer of 1971, Hansen attended a trial at Liverpool Football Club having been spotted by their scouts. Ironically given his future legend status, he was deemed to have failed to achieve the required standard.

After breaking into the first team, Hansen quickly established a reputation for himself as a confident central defender, and was watched by numerous top clubs, including Bob Paisley's Liverpool. In 1975–76 season Hansen played 21 times as Partick won the Scottish First Division championship to gain entry into the Scottish Premier League. By the end of the following season Hansen had racked up 35 top flight appearances which helped earn him a move south of the border to Liverpool.

Liverpool

Hansen cost Liverpool what would prove to be a bargain price of £110,000. He made his Reds debut on the 24 September 1977 in a league match at Anfield. Derby County were the visitors and were beaten by a single goal scored by Terry McDermott. Hansen hit his first goal the following month on the 19 October during a European Cup 2nd round 1st leg tie at Anfield. He opened the scoring in the 14th minute as Liverpool demolished East German side Dynamo Dresden 5–1.

Hansen was put into the first team sporadically throughout the season — he wasn't in the side which lost the League Cup final after a replay to Nottingham Forest in 1978 but was selected for the side which retained the European Cup with a 1–0 victory over FC Bruges at Wembley, the goal scored by Kenny Dalglish. He managed 18 appearances in the First Division, where Liverpool finished runners-up to Nottingham Forest.

The following year Hansen was in the squad as Liverpool regained the League title and also fully established himself as a first choice central defender when long serving club captain Emlyn Hughes was sold to Wolves. He also made his full debut for Scotland, though his international career would prove something of a frustration for him. Jock Stein gave Hansen his Scotland debut on the 19 May 1979 in a British Home Championship match at Ninian Park, Cardiff, in which Wales were the hosts and soundly beat the Scots 3-0. Hansen's 2nd cap came the following month on the 2 June in a prestigious friendly against reigning World Champions Argentina, The South Americans proved why they were the best in the world beating the Scots by 3 goals to 1 at Hampden Park.

Liverpool's domination of club football continued in 1980 with another League title and then in 1981 they ended the season with their first League Cup after defeating West Ham United 2-1 in a replay at Villa Park. Hansen scored the winning goal in the 28th minute. They also regained the European Cup with a 1–0 victory over Real Madrid.

The league title returned to Anfield in 1982, and the team also retained the League Cup with victory over Tottenham Hotspur, although Hansen missed this triumph with injury. Hansen was selected in the Scotland squad for the summer's World Cup in Spain, which proved an enormous disappointment. The team failed to progress beyond the qualifying group due to drawing 2–2 with the USSR. An accidental collision between Hansen and central defensive partner Willie Miller allowed USSR striker Ramoz Shengelia through to score the Soviets' second goal.

In 1983, Liverpool once again took the League title and held on to the League Cup, this time defeating Manchester United in the final. The two trophies would remain at Anfield too in 1984, although Hansen was involved in a controversial incident in the League Cup final at Wembley when he appeared to handle a shot on the goal line. Despite protests from opponents and fierce Merseyside rivals Everton, no penalty was given. Liverpool won the final after a replay.

The club then completed a treble of trophies when they added yet another European Cup to the league title and League Cup. The final against AS Roma ended 1–1 and went to a penalty shoot-out, which Liverpool won.

Liverpool emerged trophy-less from the following season, and were banned from all European competition after the 1985 European Cup Final at Heysel was preceded by rioting which caused the deaths of 39 Juventus fans. Though the result of the game was immaterial, Liverpool lost it 1–0. Hansen would never play a European tie again.

Manager Joe Fagan retired after Heysel, and Hansen's friend, team-mate and fellow Scotsman Dalglish was appointed as player manager. He gave Hansen the captaincy and the season ended in triumph, as in 1986 Liverpool became only the third side in the 20th century to complete a League and FA Cup "double", following Tottenham in 1961 and Arsenal in 1971. Hansen lifted both trophies as captain and earned his first FA Cup winners' medal, thereby completing the domestic set.

Liverpool won nothing in 1987, losing the League Cup final when Arsenal defeated them 2–1, while arch-rivals Everton took the League title. But in 1988, arguably the most skilled Liverpool team of all, with Hansen as skipper, lost just twice as they coasted to the League title — Hansen's seventh — and reached the FA Cup final, where they were beaten 1–0 by Wimbledon in one of the competition's biggest shocks.

Hansen was restricted to six league appearances in 1988-89 due to a knee injury, as Liverpool surrendered the league title to Arsenal when they conceded a last minute goal that gave the North Londoners a 2-0 win. [1]

In April 1989, after the Hillsborough disaster claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, Hansen was among many Liverpool stars left distraught by the tragedy, attending 12 funerals and visiting the injured in hospital. Liverpool eventually won the FA Cup against Everton in the final at Wembley, though Hansen didn't lift the trophy — this honour was given to team-mate Ronnie Whelan who had deputised capably in Hansen's absence through injury and retained the role on the basis of continuity and reward even after the club's first choice captain was fit again. Hansen did not complain. In the 1988–89 season, Liverpool lost the League title and a second "double" thanks to a crucial goal in the final seconds by Arsenal player Michael Thomas at Anfield which gave the Highbury club the title.

Hansen made more appearances the following season but his persistent knee problems continued to affect his fitness although he still captained Liverpool to another League title, which made it eight individually for Hansen, which was a record at the time. The club came close to the "double" yet again, but lost a thrilling FA Cup semi final 4–3 to Crystal Palace.

Hansen was unable to play in any competitive games during the 1990-91 (when Liverpool finished second in the league and were trophyless for only the third time since Hansen's arrival 14 years earlier) and he retired in March, a month after Kenny Dalglish resigned as manager. At this stage Ronnie Moran was caretaker manager until the appointment of Graeme Souness in the permanent position shortly afterwards. [2]

Scotland

Hansen won the last of his 26 Scotland caps in 1987. The reason given for his lack of caps by Scotland coaches of the late 1970s and the whole of the 1980s was that a formidable partnership had formed between players Willie Miller and Alex McLeish at the dominant Scottish side Aberdeen (managed at the time by Alex Ferguson). It made sense to keep them together at international level. Indeed, Ferguson (in temporary charge after the sudden death of Jock Stein) dropped Hansen from the squad for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, citing Hansen's poor international form and reluctance to play international friendly games in the warm up to the World Cup as the reason.

After retirement

There were strong rumours that Hansen would be approached to take over as manager of Liverpool after his former captain Graeme Souness left in 1994. However, he ruled himself out of the running, stating that despite his great affection for the club, he simply was not interested in coaching or management; a position he has maintained ever since Roy Evans got the job.[citation needed]

Media career

Alan Hansen presenting an award in 2006

After rejecting the idea of management, when he retired from football in 1991 he planned to take three months off. After his wife pointed out that during his rest period, the telephone had not rung once, he started calling the networks.[3] Sky Television employed Hansen as a pundit and summariser almost as soon as he ceased playing, and soon he had established enough of a reputation as a considered observer and thinker within the game for the BBC to approach him. He began working for BBC Radio 5 Live before moving on to Match of the Day. He also has a section in Zoo Magazine where he predicts the outcome of the weekends football fixtures

For more than a decade, Hansen has been employed as the main pundit for the BBC's football coverage (rights to show matches or highlights permitting) and he is known as a calm, authoritative, and rational analyst of the game who is particularly keen on highlighting the triumphs and "shocking" mistakes of defenders. It is worth noting that unlike all the other ex-professional footballers (apart from Alan Shearer) now employed by the BBC, Hansen has always refused to sit with the commentator at matches; preferring instead to be in the studio at the stadium for live matches and at Television Centre for highlights programmes.

Hansen is also infamous for the phrase "you'll never win anything with kids" having made the remark following Manchester United's 3–1 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995–96 Premier League season. After selling high profile players like Ince, Hughes and Kanchelskis in the summer of 1995, United had introduced several youth team players including Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville into the first team, yet went on to win a league and cup double later that season.

Away from football analysis, Hansen is a keen and talented golfer, and he is a respected member of Hillside Golf Club playing off a handicap of three. He has hosted documentaries on the sport and worked at the Masters Tournament for the BBC. He has also presented programmes on the rise in status and wealth of the modern footballer and appeared in numerous television commercials, most recently starring as a butler cleaning his master's football boots in an advert for Danish lager, Carlsberg. He is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, Telegraph.co.uk and the BBC website on football issues and has also built a good reputation as a motivational speaker.

He now stars in several television and radio advertisements for the Morrisons chain of supermarkets.[citation needed]

Honours

1975–76
1977–78*, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1982–83, 1986–87*, 1989–90
1977–78, 1980–81, 1983–84
1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90
1980–81, 1981 - 1982, 1982–83, 1983–84
1985–86, 1988–89
1985–86

* Shared

Runner Up

Liverpool FC

References

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Martin Brundle
RTS Television Sport Awards
Best Sports Pundit

2000
Succeeded by
John McEnroe







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