Liverpool legend unrecognisable nine years after being forced to leave Match of the Day – The Mirror

Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen was a regular feature on Match of the Day for a number of years, but ended his 22-year stint with the BBC after the 2014 World Cup
Alan Hansen, the former Liverpool star who was a mainstay in the early years of Match of the Day, cut an unrecognisable figure in new photos taken during his holiday in the Caribbean.
A Scotland international defender, Hansen won 26 caps for his country before moving into punditry. However, he was better known for a 14-year spell at Anfield which saw him win eight league titles and three European Cups.
During the early years of the Premier League, the 68-year-old was a regular on TV screens in the UK. He was a consistent presence on Match of the Day, first in the Des Lynam era and then under Gary Lineker, before feeling compelled to leave in 2014.
One of Hansen's most memorable moments on the show came in 1995. Then, while watching Alex Ferguson's young Manchester United squad in action, he all but wrote off the 1993-94 double-winners before being quickly made to eat his words.
"I think they've got problems," he said. "I wouldn't say they've got major problems, obviously three players have departed but the trick is always [to] buy when you're strong so you need to buy players.
"You can't win anything with kids. You look at that line-up, Manchester United today – Aston Villa, at quarter past two when they get the team sheet, it's just going to give them a lift, and it'll happen every time [Ferguson] plays the kids. He's got to buy players, it's as simple as that."
That United team featured the likes of Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, all of whom were 20 or younger at the time, while David Beckham came off the bench in the 3-1 defeat at Villa Park. Four years later, they were all treble winners.
“In the history of punditry, I imagine that phrase gets used more than anything else," Hansen would later admit. "I got it dramatically wrong.”
Hansen's playing career came to an end in 1991, a few moths after winning what would end up being Liverpool's last league title until 2020. Rather than moving into management, though, he opted for the studio, and when that phase of his life ended he was similarly keen to go out at the peak of his powers.
“I’m retiring from Match of the Day at the end of the season," Hansen said at the start of the 2013-14 campaign. "I will have been there for 22 years and will be 59, so it’s the right time for me.
"The guys at the BBC know me and I said, ‘Look, this is categorical. I’m leaving and nothing will make me change my mind’. I am contracted to do the World Cup and I will do that as it will be a good way to go out, but I have had a great run.
"’I've been in football for 41 years and I’m going out right at the top, just as I did at Liverpool," he added. However, further down the line, it emerged nerves had played a part in his decision to walk away.
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"There was no training, it was sink or swim," Hansen said in 2016. I was lucky to work with a master, Des Lynam.
“After 22 years I kept on telling myself I wouldn’t get so nervous, but it got worse. That was one of the reasons I left.
"I was getting more nervous and I’d say: ‘What are you doing?’ The BBC were terrific, I loved the people and Match of the Day but I didn’t enjoy the nerves.”
Current Match of the Day host Lineker would later shed more light on Hansen's nerves and eventual exit. However, the former England striker also hailed the Scot's work in bringing football punditry forward.
"He was probably the first person that went down the more analytic route, a path now followed by so many," Lineker said in April 2023. "He was a brilliant pundit."
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