Author Topic: The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen  (Read 6814 times)

Offline Em5y

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The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen
« on: January 22, 2004, 10:43:56 pm »
Our story begins in Scotland, Alloa to be precise, on the 13th June 1955.  Wherever you look when you read about Alan Hansen, one word jumps out at you – elegance.

Jocky was not your typical central defender.  Not very powerful, not great in the air, not the best tackler you’ll see – so why the hell did it take Liverpool 10 years to replace him? (Indeed, it could be argued that they never did and never will!)

Not only did Jocky excel at Football – He won international honours as a youngster playing Golf, Volleyball and Squash.  He was also gifted academically collecting the Scottish equivalent of seven O’Levels and four A’s.  At 17 (having reluctantly accepted that he was not quite good enough to cut it in professional golf) Hansen planned to read history at Aberdeen University. But then someone suggested that he become a PE teacher. However, the PE college, Jordanhill, had a policy of accepting only one applicant per school, and someone else from Hansen's school got the nod.

Many clubs had scouted Hansen – but he decided to play his early football for Partick Thistle.  His brother was already on the books there which made the decision a little easier.  Alan spent four years there and many English clubs kept an eye on him.  Newcastle and Bolton scouted him, and Bolton actually made a bid of £70,000.  It was rejected and Liverpool stepped in with a bid of £100,000 in May 1977.

Like Dalglish before him – Hansen had been to Liverpool for a trial before when he was 15 years old, he had obviously been impressed by it. 

May 1977 – heady times indeed for Liverpool Football Club.  We had just won the league title, reached the FA Cup Final and were on the brink of their first ever European Cup.

In front of Hansen were the formidable figures of Thomson and Hughes – but that’s the way things were done then.  Paisley said at the time:

“Alan is a confident, ambitious lad who will do well.  We have brought him in as insurance against someone else being injured, and we shall bring him along slowly.  He still has to learn his trade.”

Apparently Paisley’s plan was to pair Hansen with Colin Irwin in the Central League – but injuries to Irwin blighted this.  Indeed, Hansen came to Liverpool fully expecting little chance of initial first team action:

“I haven’t been worrying about waiting for a chance.  What more could anyone expect with so many fine players around?”

A refreshing attitude in the days before squad rotation.

Hansen’s debut came on the 24th September 1977 versus Derby County at Anfield.  The Reds won 1-0.

An injury to Phil Thomson gave Jocky his first team opportunity – he played four matches and immediately made an impression on the fans.  Paisley showed his shrewdness and ability to weigh up a footballer when he said:

“Alan’s skill is there for all to see.  The query is his defensive work.  His deficiencies  may partly be caused by other players who don’t fully understand the way he plays.  We may have to lose him for a few games to let that understanding develop.”

Hansen confirmed he could hold his own at the highest level when he played in the 1978 European Cup Final against Bruges at Wembley, conquering his infamous nerves to win his first of three European Cups.

Hansen was immense – and soon an integral part of the team.  The spine of the team was Clemence, Hansen, Thomson, Souness and Dalglish.  In the 1978-79 season – they conceded only 16 goals in 42 league games (and only 4 in the season at Anfield).  This was combined with an impressive 85 goals for.

Hansen’s style was almost unique in the English game (though many have apparently likened him to early Liverpool legend Alex Raisbeck (Wooly or Scall could probably confirm this ;)).  Many said that this Liverpool side was more continental than the continentals.  The ball would be passed about tirelessly with unnerving accuracy – then when the opposition was mesmerised – they would strike for the heart, and a goal was usually the outcome.

Hansen’s coolness at the back was integral to this – it was not in his nature to hoof the ball forward.  Things were done precisely and smoothly, though I was young at the time – I can still remember him striding out of defence with the ball.  Though not everybody had his composure!

Bob Paisley said:

“He has given me more heart attacks than any player I have ever known”

Indeed, he drove Jock Stein to despair at times.

Hansen’s measured approach was crucial in some of the European hotbeds Liverpool visited – his assured approach brought an air of calm to Liverpool’s style.  He may not have the style of Tommy Smith – but he certainly matched him for pride in the Liverpool shirt.  Rather than leaving the field covered in bruises – the opposition would slouch off the pitch frustrated that they hadn’t seen the ball for most of the 90 minutes.

For all his elegance – Hansen was a big lad.  6ft 2in and 13 stone, he could make a tackle when it was required.  Joe Fagan encouraged this from Hansen when he took over.  Fagan admitted he had fears about his defence – but was happy that Hansen was willing to adapt his game and show a more physical approach:  Fagan said:

“He has become a bit harder, a bit more professional if you like in his attitude, and his game is all the better for it.  You could see it last week during our game with Spurs.  We were under a lot of pressure, but he and Mark Lawrenson held out magnificently.  Alan was even spoken to for a foul which is unusual for him.”

Alan’s international career was not so successful.  Although he was given the freedom to express himself in the Liverpool side – the rigidity of the Scotland set up did not allow for this.  After a 2-2 draw in Glasgow with Switzerland Jock Stein said:

“Alan was far too casual, and has to be left out this time.  He has the ability, but there is something missing and he is making too many mistakes”

Perhaps Hansen was a victim of Liverpool’s success – he was part of a team at Liverpool were roles were interchangeable.  He knew that if he surged forward – Brucie was probably going to act as sweeper! This wasn’t the case when he played for Scotland.  One of the biggest injustices perhaps was his exclusion from the 1986 Scotland World-Cup squad.  Paisley often stated that football was about balance – and in Hansen’s time, this was something Scotland rarely achieved.

Time passed – Souness went to Italy, Phil Neal went to Bolton – Next choice for the captaincy was Jocky.  The bond he had with Kenny Dalglish was strong – and when he was appointed player-manager, Hansen provided the important link between players and management.  Indeed he was often forthright in his views and would offer Kenny advice when asked for it.

Dalglish’s decision to choose himself for first team inclusion towards the end of the double season is said to be partly down to the words of Hansen who believed Liverpool’s ambitions were going wayward.  Again the spine of the team was immense – Brucie, Hansen, Lawrenson, Molby, Whelan, Dalglish  and Rush.  Hansen lifted the league and FA Cup double for the first time in Liverpool’s history.  They almost repeated the feat in 1988 but for Lawrie Sanchez and Wimbledon.

1989. Hillsborough.  Alan Hansen’s own words are probably more appropriate than mine:

Taken from http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/history/hansen.shtm which quotes Chapter 15 of Alan’s autobiography – A Matter of Opinion:

In the opening few minutes of Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough on Saturday 15 April 1989, I felt happier than I could have anticipated. Two months short of my thirty-fourth birthday, I had been out of Liverpool’s first team for nine months – the result of a dislocated left knee sustained in a pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid in Spain – and had only started playing again, for the reserves, four days before the semi-final.

The Liverpool fans gave me a tremendous reception as I came on to the pitch, and I made a great start to the game. In those opening minutes, I hit three good passes – two long balls over the top of the Forest defence to Steve McMahon and the other to Peter Beardsely, who hit a shot against the Forest bar.

All my fears about my fitness evaporated. I felt as if I had never been away. Then, suddenly, I started to fall into the blackest period of my life.

Seconds later Hillsborough became a death chamber as 95 of the Liverpool followers, who packed the central terracing behind the goal at the Leppings Lane end, were crushed to death in the worst crowd disaster in the history of English sport. One person spent some two years on a life-support machine before his death so the toll finally reached 96. The number of broken hearts was incalculable.

Ten years on, it bother me sometimes that I tend to think only of the people who perished at Hillsborough when the subject is raised or when I see the memorial to them just outside the Anfield Main gates. I have attended a number of services to mark the anniversaries of the disaster, and at the third, in 1992, Bruce Grobbelaar and I had the honour of reading the lessons, but Hillsborough has always been something I have tried to shut out of my mind: the more I dwell on it, the more I am forced to imagine how my life would have changed had the catastrophe claimed anyone close to me.

That so many youngsters were among the victims was particularly heart-rending. People can find tremendous strength through adversity, but if either of my children had been lost at Hillsborough, I honestly cannot see how Janet and I could ever have recovered from it. Adam was only eight at the time, but had he been 15 or 16 and wanted to go to the match, I might well have made arrangements for someone to watch it with him from the terraces rather than the stand. I could imagine myself saying to him, ‘You don’t want to go into the seats, you’ll get a better atmosphere on the terraces.’ To think of him at the Leppings Lane end of the ground is just too painful.

It was certainly thus at the time of Hillsborough. The immediate aftermath, when Kenny Dalglish and the players attended the funerals and tried to show support for the grieving families took more out of me emotionally than any other experience I have gone through.

I thought I had already experienced a big enough tragedy for one lifetime with the events at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels four years earlier. To be involved in another, this time so close to home and involving people who were an integral part of my professional life, inevitably hit me even harder.

Whenever I think of Heysel, the first image that springs to mind is the expression on Joe Fagan’s face as the terrifying scenes of crowd violence escalated to the point where the game that had been his whole life no longer meant anything. Following the announcement the day before that the European Cup final against Juventus would be his last as Liverpool manager, Joe deserved good memories of the occasion, no matter what the result. But, at the end, he looked a broken man.

Of all the men at Liverpool who went through the ordeal of Heysel, Joe, who was then in his mid-sixties and had decided to retire, was the one for whom I felt most sorry. In one way, though, he was lucky: at least he was not subjected to the nightmare of Hillsborough. It says much about the inner turmoil experienced by people at Liverpool FC that Kenny Dalglish inevitably the focal point of Liverpool’s attempts to bring some measure of comfort to the mourning families, brought he Liverpool career to an end two years later and took a complete break from the game.

It affected everybody.

It is incongruous to attempt to draw a parallel between the two disasters, given that the cause of Heysel was hooliganism and that Liverpool supporters were the perpetrators. At Hillsborough, they were the innocent victims. However, if there was one common denominator, it concerned the inadequate crowd arrangements.

I would not dream of attempting to condone the conduct of the Liverpool fans whose war-like charge towards the Juventus followers’ section resulted in many Italians being crushed under a crumbling wall. However, I would suggest that whoever was responsible for putting two sets of supporters within such easy reach of each other, separated only by a flimsy wire fence, was failing in his duty.
Because of the poor security arrangements, and the dilapidated, outdated Heysel Stadium, Liverpool had been edgy about the match for some weeks.

About 10 days earlier, I remember bumping into Jim Kennefick, who handled the club’s travel, as he was leaving the ground following a meeting with the directors. ‘They are paranoid upstairs about the Liverpool and Juventus supporters being together,’ he told me. Even outside the stadium, the security system – or lack of it – was crazy.

During the 1998 World Cup finals in France, police ensured that no-one without a ticket could get within a mile of the stadiums on match days. There was no such security blanket in operation for the Liverpool-Juventus European Cup final. Indeed, from what I can make out, there was no security blanket at all. It did not matter if anyone turned up without a ticket; it seemed that everyone got in and could go to whatever part of the stadium he wished.

The first I knew of the tension building among the two sets of fans was about an hour and a half before the kick-off, when we – the Liverpool players – came out to look at the pitch. We could not get onto it because of a boys’ match was taking place, so we decided to stretch our legs with a walk around the running track, towards the section where most of the fans were situated. As we approached, the Juventus followers started throwing what I took to be bricks. I remarked to Alan Kennedy, ‘This is unusual – you don’t often find supporters taking bricks into a stadium.’

‘They’re not throwing bricks,’ he replied, ‘They’re throwing the stadium at us.’ We were indeed being pelted with bits of concrete from the crumbling terraces. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? This was the showpiece match of the season in Europe, and it was being staged in a stadium that was not far short of a ruin.

When we were back in the dressing room, we were unaware for some time of the extent to which the trouble had escalated. We kept getting reports of what was going on, but none were official and they were contradictory. Inevitably, our first thoughts were for the safety of friends and families. My own group at the match were Janet and her family, my father and uncle, all whom seemed to me to be too far away from the madness to be swept up in it.

We were getting so many conflicting reports that it was difficult for us to put the football in its proper context: it sounds terrible to say it, but my overriding anxiety was that we had a European Cup final to play, and I had to get myself ready for it. I succeeded in getting myself so psyched up for the match that what was happening on the terraces was pushed into the background.

Eventually, a UEFA official came into the dressing room to ask our captain, Phil Neal, to go over to the Liverpool fans to try to calm them down. When Phil came back, he said, ‘People have died out there.’ But even at that point, neither he nor anyone else in our dressing room could say how bad the trouble had been. There was further confusion when the kick-off was delayed, amid deliberations about whether the match should be postponed or cancelled. Here again, the players were too isolated from the trouble to be able to take it in – so much so that during this waiting period Alan Kennedy and I passed the time with a game of cards.

By the time the decision was taken to play the game, on the premise that to cancel or postpone it would have been to invite further mayhem, I don’t think anyone really cared about it. The memory of it, and the result – a 1-0 win for Juventus through a goal by Michel Platini – will always be overshadowed by the events that scarred the image of English football off the field.

For me personally, the nightmare of Heysel was prolonged by the experience of my in-laws, who had been seated above the area where the Italian fans lost their lives and saw everything that happened. For months afterwards my mother-in-law could not sleep. The experience was no less traumatic for the girlfriend of striker Paul Walsh, who was seized by a group of Italians and dragged off to look at the pile of dead bodies after the medical team had failed to revive them.

For most people, the reaction to Heysel was one of shame a well as sadness. Inevitably, the reaction to Hillsborough, where both sets of supporters were well behaved, was even more emotive. Millions of words have been written about exactly why the disaster occurred and who was to blame, but the bottom line was that it all stemmed from a catalogue of mistakes in policing and stewarding. It had been a disaster waiting to happen.

It is widely acknowledged that the decision to put Liverpool’s followers at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, rather than the much bigger Kop end, was one of the biggest mistakes that day. It was a ludicrous decision if only because of the difference in size of the two clubs’ support. Liverpool’s average home attendance that season was around 40,000, almost double Nottingham Forest’s, yet Forest’s fans were put in the section of the Hillsborough ground in which the capacity was twice as great as the area reserved for Liverpool’s fans.

This decision was made on the premise that the Leppings Lane end was the one that provided the easiest access to fans travelling to the game from Liverpool on the M62. It was overlooked that Liverpool had one the widest fan bases in England, and that their supporters would be descending on Hillsborough from all directions.

There was a crush involving Liverpool supporters outside the ground before the kick-off, partly because many arrived late and partly because only one entrance gate was open. The sensible thing to do then would have been to delay the start of the game, as often happens nowadays when there is a dangerous build-up of fans trying to get into a ground. But, tragically, that did not happen.

This was followed by another error. When the other access gates were opened, a breakdown in communication between the police officer monitoring the situation led to the fans being forced into the already packed central area of the terracing. The following Monday, a photograph in the Liverpool Echo showing the Leppings Lane end at 3.06 p.m., five minutes after the kick-off, told its own story. The central part was full to bursting point, but the two ‘wings’ were nearly empty. In those days, many leading English football stadiums had fenced in their terracing to stop fans going on to the pitch. At Hillsborough, the vast majority of fans fighting for breath – who had arrived early to ensure they had positions at the front – had no means of escape.

Of course, the same crowd arrangements were in operation at Hillsborough for the previous season’s Liverpool-Forest FA Cup semi-final, and there was no trouble then – or, at least, no apparent trouble. However, I heard a number of complaints from supporters about the crowd-control methods at that tie, especially with regard to the build-up of fans trying to get into the ground.

Of all the hundreds of matches I’d had for Liverpool, the 1989 semi-final was the one that I least wanted to take part in. After being out of action for so long, I felt it was ridiculous to select me for my comeback in such an important match.

I had originally intended to spend the afternoon playing golf and when I was told that I would be travelling to Sheffield with the squad, I took it that club just wanted me there to make me feel part of the first-team scene again. Not for one moment did I think I had a chance of playing, not even when it became known that there were fitness doubts about other players. At our hotel on the Friday night, Ian Rush had been told to share a room with me because his usual room-mate, Barry Venison, was suffering from a virus, and as Ian himself had been out of the team through injury, we discussed other players whom Kenny Dalglish might bring into the side. When Ian suggested that Kenny might bring me back, I said, ‘You must be joking – no chance.’

However, having had the though planted in my mind, I started to panic. So, too did Ian, who was also unhappy about his level of match fitness.
At 12.30 p.m. on the Saturday, with both of us almost praying on our knees that we would not be picked, I told him, ‘Look, if Kenny doesn’t tell us we’re playing before one o’clock (fifteen minutes before the squad were due to leave for the ground) we’re in the clear.’ By 1 p.m. we had still not heard anything – but at 1.05 p.m. there was a knock on our door from Liverpool’s assistant manager, Roy Evans, to tell us that Kenny wanted to see us.
It was me who got the short straw by being included in the starting line-up. Ian was on the bench.

‘I can’t play – I don’t want to play,’ I told him.
‘What do you mean you don’t want to play?’ he asked.

I tried to tell him that I lacked the necessary match fitness, but Kenny, supported by his backroom staff, would have none of it. ‘You did well in the reserves on Tuesday night and you’ve looked good in training since then,’ he pointed out.

In the end I had to say, ‘All right, but I’m not happy about it.’ From then on, my mood could best be described as distraught. By the time we got to the ground, my unease was so noticeable that some of the players were winding me up about it. However, nothing before kick-off gave us a clue that this was not going to be a normal game. Some might find it strange that we didn’t notice anything untoward during the pre-match warm-up, but then players don’t look at the crowd, and I was warming up on the edge of our penalty area. Even when the match started, and the crush behind our goal was beginning to take it’s toll, we were focused too much on the play to be able to take in what was happening.

The first I knew of the trouble was when two fans came on to the pitch. As they ran past me, I told them, ‘Get off – you’ll get us into trouble.’
One of them shouted, ‘There are people dying back there, Al.’ I could see some people trying to get over the terrace fence but, because I was concentrating so much on the game, his comment did not really register with me. Much as I hate to admit it, my reaction as one of cynicism. I remember thinking, Oh, yeah?

The next moment, the referee had stopped the game and the two teams were being taken back to the dressing rooms.

The scene in the dressing room was little different from what I had experienced at Heysel, in as much as nobody knew the extent of what was happening outside. There was just too much confusion about the situation for any of the players to address themselves to it. Professional footballers are conditioned to concentrate on a game, shutting out all distractions, and it can take time to step out of match mode.

At Hillsborough, we were all aware that something terrible was happening on the terraces, but with the adrenalin pumping we were still half thinking of the jobs we had to do. Up to when we were told that the game had been abandoned, I found it difficult to stop thinking that we would be brought back on to the field and that I needed to be tuned in mentally to the game. To look back on it now is like viewing it through thick fog. We were so dazed that all I can remember about the rest of the time we spent at Hillsborough was the distress of our wives and girlfriends when we joined them in the lounge set aside for the guests of the two teams.

I think the catastrophe did not register with me until we went to Anfield the following day, and walked across the pitch to the countless flowers that were being put down at the Kop end. Those floral tributes remain my most vivid memory of Hillsborough. It was Hillsborough tht brought home to me the effect that football can have on people’s lives.

Previously, I never appreciated just how much the game means to fans because I’d never been committed to a team as a football-watcher, and I looked upon my involvement in the game as a job. I therefore found it extraordinary that after the initial period of mourning, so many fans – including the families and friends of the bereaved – were able to pick up from where they had left off in their support of the Liverpool team. I am convinced that, had I been in their position, football would no longer have meant anything to me. I would not have been in the least bit interested in watching Liverpool.

Indeed, in hindsight, I am not sure that it was right for Liverpool to continue that season, even though it was clear that the vast majority of the Liverpool public wanted us to do so. Many have argued that our win over Everton in the FA Cup final – just eight weeks after Hillsborough – was the best source of comfort that the grieving families and the public could have had from us. Yet, while there was a lot of evidence to support this view, I have never been at ease with it. When I was prancing around Wembley with the FA Cup, and letting my hair down at the celebration party afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. I still do. I still think, Was it right for me to look so happy?

My first real insight into the horror of Hillsborough – and Liverpool FC’s emotional links with the community – came on the following Monday, when the players visited the injured at Sheffield Infirmary. The first person we were asked to see was a 14-year-old boy, who was on a life-support machine. There was no hope for him, but his mother requested that he be kept on the machine until we arrived. Though he was not conscious, we sat there talking to him for a few minutes. Then someone announced that he was dead and started putting a screen around his bed.

At that point, I lost it completely, I cried my eyes out. I tried to say something to comfort the mother, but I almost felt that she was comforting me. She kept thanking me for coming to see him, and telling me how much he loved Liverpool – the strength she showed was incredible. Then I went into another ward, and reached a man’s bed just as he was regaining consciousness. He recognized me instantly, hand his first words to me were, ‘If you reach the Cup final, can you get me a ticket?’

I did a lot of crying in the weeks ahead. I attended 12 funerals, but instead of becoming hardened to them, I found them increasingly difficult to handle. One of the problems for me was knowing what to say to the families and friends of the deceased. I thought I was supposed to be there to provide some form of counselling but I tended to get as upset as they did.

Liverpool set up a system whereby the bereaved could visit the players at Anfield, but I struggled with that as well. I remember an elderly grey-haired gentleman who had lost his grandson coming up to me and saying, ‘He was seventeen… How can you take somebody away at seventeen, with so much of his life in front of him?’ I couldn’t answer him, I don’t think I could have been of any help to him because as the tears rolled down his cheeks, I broke down, too.

Trevor Hicks, a London businessman, took his two daughters, Sarah, 19, and Victoria, 15, to the match. Also at the game was his wife, Jenny, who had a seat in the stand. He daughters had wanted to watch the match without his ‘beady eyes’ on them, so while they stood with the Liverpool fans on that central terrace, he stood directly under the police control box near by. At the judicial inquiry into the tragedy, Trevor said he saw people in the central pen showing signs of distress at 2.45 p.m.

When a senior police officer stepped out of the control box and began to look at the crowd in the central area, Trevor shouted to him, ‘For Christ’s sake, can’t you see what’s going on? You’ve got (closed-circuit) cameras.’ The officer did not respond. Then, as Trevor was becoming increasingly agitated about the safety of his daughters, another office appeared. Trevor again tried to draw attention to what was happening, but claims he was told, ‘Shut your ******* prattle,’

He made his way to the pitch just as one of his daughters, Victoria, was being lifted above the heads of the crowd. She was laid on the pitch beside her sister, who was being given the kiss of life. Both were dead.

Trevor is chairman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG), which is still fighting for what it considers to be the proper action against the South Yorkshire police officers who were deemed at the inquiry into the disaster to be the more culpable, and for greater compensation than the small sums handed out by the Government. The inquest into the Hillsborough deaths recorded a verdict of misadventure, and the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any of the police involved.

In 1997, the HFSG’s crusade for a new public inquiry gained new impetus as a result of a Granada TV programme about Hillsborough, which revealed new evidence to challenge the police’s version of events. Though the Home Secretary, Jack Straw did not see it that way, the HFSG’s battle for justice has continued.

I have heard people say that they should now ‘let it go’ and ‘get on with their lives’, a view that stems partly from the massive changes that have taken place in English football as a result of Hillsborough. But for the tragedy, and the Taylor Report in January 1990, which enforced the transformation of British football grounds into all-seat stadiums, it is possible that the long history of stadium neglect, and spectators treated as turnstile fodder, would have continued.

The new-style British club stadiums, which are among the most impressive in the world for safety standards and facilities, have made it easier for clubs to be better run, and therefore improve the quality of their football. However, though a great deal of water has passed under the bridge since Hillsborough, my attitude to those who feel that the HFSG should now forget its grievances is, ‘It’s easy for you to talk – you didn’t loose anyone.’ Had I lost someone, I would never have let it go.

-----------------

Hansen has always been opinionated about football. And when a knee injury forced him to stop playing, he was the obvious candidate to coach Liverpool reserves. Then his close friend Kenny Dalglish - his regular golf partner at Hillside - quit as manager. "He'd tried to call me twice the day before, but I was out," recalls Hansen, "so I didn't find out until training the next morning. Was I surprised? Christ, yes."

A lot of people believed, and still do, that Hansen would make an excellent manager – he believes otherwise:

"Dalglish and Souness live and breathe football in a way that I never have, there again, in my last season as captain, I wasn't getting any sleep at night, worrying about three points here and three points there. And at 2.15 on a Saturday I used to go back and forth to the toilet 45 times. So I knew management wasn't for me."

He took the bizarre step of becoming a football pundit.  Bizarre because he suffered nerves performing in front of 45,000 – he now entertains millions with his forthright opinions. I like his analysis – and the fact that  he can criticise Liverpool – and you know it pains him to do so, whilst other Liverpool veterans I wont name seem to revel in it a little bit.

Ladies and Gentlemen – I present to you The One…The Only…Mr Alan Hansen.



Date of Birth: 13-06-1955
Debut: 24th September 1977 v Derby County (H) Football League Division One: Won 1-0
1st team games: 623
1st team goals: 13
Former clubs: Partick Thistle
International caps: 26 (Scotland)
Honours with Liverpool: First Division Championship 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1985/86, 1987/88 & 1989/90, FA Cup 1986 & 1989, League Cup 1981, 1983 & 1984, European Cup 1978, 1981 & 1984, Charity Shield 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986 (shared) & 1989

« Last Edit: January 23, 2004, 02:49:47 am by Rushian »

Offline Bannside Red

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Re: The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2004, 10:54:10 pm »
Nice one Emsy. ;)

Is that Dr Fun in the background or Steve Nicol.  ;D

hoonin

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Re: The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2004, 10:54:42 pm »
Great read. Along side Rushy, Hansen was defo a real hero when I was a young lad in the 80's. Utmost respect for him as a player and now as a pundit, but dont understand why some people are suggesting him as a replacement for Houllier ???
« Last Edit: January 23, 2004, 12:15:14 am by Rushian »

Offline nige

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Re: The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2004, 12:31:33 am »
Nice post.
My favourite pages from Kenny's autobiog are 132 -3
"It was a strange time for me , knowing i was going to replace Joe ....over dinner on enight with Marina, Alan & his wife Janet, i told big Al that I wa sgoing to be Liverpool's next manager. His reaction was brilliant.
"Com eon janet, " Al said, "Eat up and let's be on our way. the friendship's over. We can't be talking to the boss !"
But Al sat and finished his meal ... I was paying.

...Leaving Brussels [ after Heysel ], I sat next to Ronnie whelan on the plane.
"YOU know who the new manager is going to be, don't you ?" Ronnie asked. I replied that I did.
"Well, who is it ?he asked.
"I can't tell you."
So he started listing names.
"Is it so-and-so ?"
Nah.
And so on and so on...
"Who is it ?"
"It's me."
"Get lost."
"HOnestly, it's me."
"YEEES!" Ronnie went. "Can I be captain ??"
[end of quote from book]

But Big Al was  appointed captain, even though he didn'e want to be, and didn't feel he could perform the role well. 
Al's own autobiography just oozes HONESTY.
"When people ask if I bottled it " [ on page 29 about the manager's job in Feb '91 ] I say too right I did. I've seen what football managemenbt can do to people."
"If I were interested in being a manager, I'd have taken it like a shot."

I have to say that at this point, almost exactly 13 unlucky years since Kenny resigned, I am tempted to refer to the last 3 sentences on page 188 of Kenny's autobiography. BUt I won't. that would be too much to hope for.

Offline Em5y

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Re: The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2004, 11:55:27 am »
Thanks to Nidgemo for reminding me about this. On the inside cover of Hansen's autobiography is the letter he received from Geoff Twentyman after his intitial trial with Liverpool. It reads:



8th August 1971.


Dear Alan,


It was decided after trials that you did not reach the standard required.

Thank you for attending.

Yours Sincerely,


Geoff Twentyman
Chief Scout.


;D

Offline MorganStanley

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Re: The One...The Only...Mr Alan Hansen
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2004, 05:39:21 pm »
Thanks for that it was great read.
He was a great player and like Kenny a great man.