Goodbye Alan Hansen and Thank You


The last Match of the Day (MotD) of the season will see Alan Hansen bowing out of the show. He has decided to retire from the programme after twenty-two years of being one of its main pundits.

In my opinion, it’s an end of an era.

He was one of the first pundits to really get to grips with analysis. People love Gary Neville on Monday nights but really it was Alan Hansen that showed us that footballers could do that type of role and do it well.

I watched Hansen rip a defence apart only a few weeks ago and was left wondering ‘why is he going?’. He demonstrated that he still knew what defending was all about and that he could still teach the audience the art too.

He mellowed as he got older. The Scot isn’t as brash or as dismissing as he was at the start of his media career. He has relaxed into the role and he helps out his colleagues. He has become a statesman for all football punditry.

I remember watching a documentary he did for the BBC about what players could do after quitting football. It was thought provoking and went beyond football. He was a fine host, and probably didn’t get the credit he deserved for his work on these types documentaries.

For years people have been saying that ‘MotD’ has become boring and stale. I, for one, agree up to a point. One of the criticisms was that we saw pundits like Hansen, Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson all too readily. Again I agree, I think the format would be improved had we had more special guests and the regulars were rotated more. But Hansen was/is still the best of the bunch.

As I said Hansen did a lot to improve the ways in which we watch and appreciate modern football. He along with Andy Gray were the pioneers for this new analytical punditry but unlike Gray, Hansen always showed class and he continued to be relevant. Gray did become stale at SKY and thought he was untouchable. He also came across as unapproachable and that can’t be said of Hansen.

Many critics will say ‘he was on too much money’ and that may also be true. But is that his fault? Would we, if put in the same position, turn down wads of cash to talk about football? I seriously doubt it.

Alan would also like to slip in a joke or two during the Saturday night show. He was also often the butt of a joke too. He will forever be remembered for his line about Manchester United not winning anything with kids. That was the ‘class of 92’ who would go on and win the title that season. But instead of that blunder working against Hansen it showed he was just like any other football fan. We all have our opinions and we are all wrong at one time or another.

The Beeb have a huge job in replacing the Scotsman. I don’t mind Shearer but he needs to stick with talking about attacking plays as thats where he can tell the audience what they need to know. SKY have brought in both Neville and Jamie Carragher, both of whom work well when talking about defending. I’m not sure the BBC have a ready-made replacement in the wings.

After the World Cup, Hansen will depart from out TV sets but I hope he doesn’t leave football all together. I hope he keeps up with his newspaper column for the Telegraph. Plus Liverpool should definitely try and get him to accept an ambassadors role at the club.

No matter what the future holds for Alan Hansen, maybe he’ll want to just play golf and spend more time with his family, I for one will always be thankful for his service at the BBC and helping to modernise how we watch our football!

Leave a Reply