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Page 3 Profile: Alan Hansen, football pundit


Is he leaving ‘Match Of The Day’?

Yes, so diabolical defenders everywhere, pop your Champagne corks now. Hansen, who enjoyed a successful playing career with Liverpool before becoming a pundit in 1992, will leave the show when his contract expires after the 2014 World Cup.

Is he heading to BT or Sky?

You suspect this isn’t a money issue. It seems the 58-year-old just wants to enjoy a peaceful retirement. He told The  Daily Telegraph: “I said, ‘Look, this is categorical. I’m leaving and nothing will make me change my mind.’ I’ve been in football for 41 years and I’m going out right at the top, just as I did at Liverpool. The plan was always that I would retire at 55. I kept going, but I finally decided to retire during Euro 2012.”

“You can’t win anything with kids...”

The Scot has been criticised for his often brutal analysis – never more so than in 1995, when he famously lambasted the youngsters of Manchester United (Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Gary Neville) who had be soundly beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa. Those kids went on to win the League and FA Cup double that season. “That line pretty much made me, simply because I got it so dramatically wrong,” Hansen later admitted. Perhaps enthused by his put-down of United, Manchester City offered him the manager’s job that same year. Ironically, it was the arrival of kid-turned-adult Neville at Sky that began to draw unfavourable comparisons with the BBC’s show. Some critics described the format as stale and tired.

How have colleagues reacted?

There has been a BBC love-in of epic proportions. A corporation spokesman paid tribute to his “terrific career”, while Gary Lineker tweeted that Hansen was “consistently the best”. However, while Hansen was full of praise for the show’s current host, he did put Des Lynam ahead by a whisker in terms of presenting ability.