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Famous Like Me > Footballer > H > Alan Hansen

Profile of Alan Hansen on Famous Like Me

Name: Alan Hansen  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 13th June 1955
Place of Birth: Clackmannanshire
Profession: Footballer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Alan Hansen (born Alloa, Scotland, June 13, 1955) was one of football's most elegant defenders of his generation and later became arguably the most eloquent and respected pundit on the game when he finished playing.

Football career

Hansen was bright at school but turned down the opportunity to study at university in Aberdeen in order to join his brother John at Partick Thistle for whom he played more than 100 times between 1973 and 1977. He quickly established a reputation for himself as a confident central defender and was watched by numerous top clubs.

In 1977, Hansen was purchased by Liverpool as the Anfield club pursued a unique treble of League championship, FA Cup and European Cup. They missed out on this, winning the league and in Europe but losing the FA Cup final to Manchester United. Hansen was put into the first team sporadically the following season and was in the side which lost the League Cup final after a replay to Nottingham Forest in 1978 but retained the European Cup with victory over FC Bruges at Wembley.

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.

Liverpool's domination of club football continued in 1980 with another League title, then in 1981 they ended the season with their first League Cup after defeating West Ham United 2-1 in a replay. Hansen scored the winning goal. 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. 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 and Hansen was guilty, along with central defensive partner Willie Miller, of a catastrophic mix-up which allowed USSR striker Ramoz Shengelia through to score.

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 another European Cup to the title and League Cup. The final against AS Roma ended 1-1 and went to a penalty shoot-out, which Liverpool won.

Liverpool emerged trophyless from the following season, and were banned from all European competition after the 1985 European Cup final at Heysel ended in 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 resigned after Heysel due to the grief he felt, and Hansen's friend, team-mate and fellow Scotsman Kenny 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.

Hansen won his last of a paltry 26 Scotland caps in 1987. The reason given for his lack of caps by Scotland coaches of the late 70s and the whole of the 80s was that a formidable partnership had formed between Miller and Alex McLeish at the dominant Scottish side Aberdeen (managed at the time by Alex Ferguson) and 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 whole squad for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, a decision which led to Dalglish also withdrawing his services.

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 missed much of the 1989 season with a knee injury, but battled back to regain his place in the side in the latter half of an eventful campaign on the pitch and a tragic one off it. 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 many 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 a basis of continuity and reward even after the club's first choice skipper was fit again. Hansen didn't complain. Liverpool lost the League title and a second "double" thanks to a crucial goal in the final seconds by Arsenal player Michael Thomas which gave the Highbury club the title.

Hansen made fewer appearances the following season as his persistent knee problems continued to affect his fitness, but he still captained Liverpool to another League title, which made it eight individually for Hansen, a record which stands to this day alongside ex-Liverpool team-mate Phil Neal and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. The club came close to the "double" yet again, but lost a thrilling FA Cup semi final 4-3 to Crystal Palace. Hansen tried to continue the following season but the knee got the better of him, and he quit in 1991.

Television Career

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. For more than a decade now, 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 mistakes of defenders. It is worth noting that unlike all the other ex-professional footballers 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.

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.

In 1995, after Manchester United had lost their opening fixture of the season to Aston Villa with a team containing many young players who had just broken through from the youth side, Hansen famously remarked: "You won't win anything with kids." It is a quote which he is constantly reminded of and for which he will be most remembered, as this Manchester United team (containing players such as Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt - all of whom were 20 or under) went on to win the League and Cup "double", including a defeat of Hansen's old club Liverpool in the FA Cup final.

Hansen continues to appear on the BBC's football coverage of domestic and international tournaments to this day. Away from football analysis, Hansen is a keen and talented golfer, 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 Carlsberg lager. He is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and the BBC website on football issues and has also built a good reputation as a motivational speaker.

Hansen is married to Janet and has a son and a daughter.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Alan Hansen