Alan Hansen: My Life In Media

'I don't miss playing football but I do miss going into the dressing room every day and having a laugh'
Click to follow
The Independent Online

During his football career Alan Hansen won 17 major trophies for Liverpool and 26 caps for Scotland, but after 15 years at the BBC the 51-year-old is as well known for talking about football as he is for playing it. He retired from the game in 1991 with a knee injury and quickly became a respected analyst on Match of the Day. He is also a columnist for The Daily Telegraph. He lives in Southport with his wife Janet and they have two children.

So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I fell into it. When I retired from football in 1991 I was going to take three months off. I said to my wife: "This phone will never stop ringing." After three months she pointed out that it hadn't rung once so I phoned the television companies. Sky and the BBC gave me a trial, I started working for Radio 5, and the rest was history.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

We got the Daily Record and I always looked at it.

And what were your favourite television and radio programmes?

I liked anything with sport in it but also comedies such asFawlty Towers and Monty Python. There might have been a sports programme on a Saturday night and that was it. If you had something on like the World Cup that was awesome. I never listened to the radio.

Describe your job

Some say it's the best job in the world, but it's very stressful. Live television is always stressful and the more you do it, the more you realise what can go wrong. There are always nerves beforehand, but by the time your first sentence is out you should be relaxed. I work in a great corporation and with great people.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

I get the Telegraph and read the sport, the business and then the actual paper.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I look at Ceefax after the Telegraph for the football. When there's a game on Sky Sports that's not on the BBC I'll watch that.

What is the best thing about your job?

I don't miss playing football but I do miss going into the dressing room every day and having a laugh. The people I work with at the BBC have always been like that - it's just like being in the Liverpool dressing room.

And the worst?

You have to work on a Saturday night, but that's the price you've got to pay. When we played at Christmas time you would train on Christmas morning and leave on Christmas afternoon. The manager said: "If you've got a problem, have your Christmas in the summer." You change things around and have your Saturday night on a Sunday.

How do you feel you influence the media?

I work on a programme that people watch. It depends on whether they take you seriously and value your opinion. If people say they liked your programme, that's really nice.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

They've all been in football. Double-winning captain with Liverpool in 1986 was probably the best. In television, the World Cups are the big ones. Berlin this year was fantastic but Paris in 1998 was sensational in terms of the broadcasting, the place, the weather and the French winning.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Probably when I said "You'll never win anything with kids" about Man United in 1995-96, and they went on to win the double. I should have said "They'll never win everything with kids."

At home, what do you tune in to?

My wife and I like movies anddramas. Mostly British-made programmes such asSpooks. I watch a lot of sport, especially golf.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Sunday Telegraph. My wife buys magazines and sometimes I'll flick through them, and I write a weekly column for the Liverpool magazine, LFC.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire.

None. I'm 51 so any ambition I might have had has gone and I can't see myself working later than 55. I never imagined this media career, though, and I'm delighted with how it's gone.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

I'd be struggling. I worked in an office for General Accident when I was 18 and I realised it wasn't for me after only six weeks.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Des Lynam and Gary Lineker have been absolutely fantastic and given me lots of help. A lot of people said Gary would struggle to go from football to TV but he did it seamlessly. They're great guys and great to work for.

The cv

1973 Turns down university to join his brother playing for Partick Thistle

1977 Signs to Liverpool and begins a 14-year career at the club


Gives up football with a knee injury and joins Sky as a soccer pundit


Joins the BBC'sMatch of the Day, going on to presentThe Sack Race and The Football Millionaires


Begins a football column for the Today newspaper, moving to the Daily Express in 1996, then The Daily Telegraph in 2002


Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame