Well after putting Tommy Smith and Jamie Carragher in my back four, I think it is time to put a player with a bit more ability on the ball to balance my back line. That man is Alan Hansen without question. Emlyn Hughes came into my thoughts but I have gone for Hansen.
Described by many as cool and calm on the ball. (Or as my father told me when I was a child – Alan Hansen could have played in a three piece suit, he was that good at reading the game) He sticks out in my mind due to mainly his composure and poise on the ball. He could tackle hard but his ability to nick the ball from a centre forward was unrivalled. Agger reminds me of Hansen in some ways with his ability to bring the ball out from defence. Hansen was part of the meanest defence in LFC history. He signed for Liverpool from Patrick Thistle for around £110k. He would prove to be an inspired buy for LFC going on to make 620 appearances from 1977 scoring 14 goals and preventing many more goals more importantly.
In the 1978 – 1979 season Hansen ousted ironically Emlyn Hughes from the 1st team lineup. LFC conceded 16 goals in the league that season. As time passed Hansen became an integral part of the Liverpool 1st team and would go on to play for 13 years before injuries took there toll. In this time he would collect 8 league titles and 3 European Cups. He also collected 2 FA Cups, 3 League Cups and 6 Charity Shields. I would think if LFC had not been banned from European competition during his career he would have added more medals to his collection. A pretty impressive medal collection for any professional footballer from any era.
In 1985 Kenny Dalglish decided to take the captaincy from Phil Neal and hand the armband to Hansen. This would prove to be a great decision as Hansen would lead LFC to a League and FA Cup double in his first year as captain. Dalglish talks about Hansen in his recent autobiography as a very important player for LFC and a great friend. When Joe Fagan left LFC, the players were predicting who would get the manager’s job. Dalglish told Hansen he had been offered the player manager job so they decided to wind the players up. Hansen went to the changing rooms and told the players he was the new manager. This went on for a while before the players were told the truth. He seemed to be a bit of a character and this is another attribute he brings to the team.
Hansen’s international career was hampered by Scotland managers preferring Willie Miller and Alex McLeish at centre-back. Alex Ferguson decided against taking Hansen to the 1986 World Cup. This was an outrageous decision as Hansen should have walked into the Scotland team and to not be included in the squad was a travesty. Ferguson was maybe showing his first signs of bitterness towards LFC but that is another topic which I could write about for hours as I obviously dislike the man.
Hansen made number 12 on the survey voted by LFC fans – 100 Players who Shook the Kop.
Hansen would go on in later years to become a very successful television pundit on Match of the Day. His analysis is very informative and shows his extensive knowledge of football and especially the art of defending. I always thought he would make a great addition of Liverpool’s back room staff but it obviously will never happen now.
Alan Hansen, I am giving you my number 6 shirt.
My lineup is starting to take shape now with Scott, Smith, Carragher, Hansen on the team sheet so far.