Sport on TV: Mourn the loss of Alan Hansen – it’s what he would want

 

Shocking news. It’s just diabolical. Tonight’s World Cup final is Alan Hansen’s swansong as a pundit after more than three decades with the BBC. He has shown effort, attitude and commitment, not to mention touch and technique, and he has done it time and time again. It feels like someone has died, but then it always did.

LIVE: Germany vs Argentina latest

Hansen will be hard pressed to come up with a better match with which to sign off than the Brazilian débâcle on Tuesday night (Match of the Day Live, BBC1). “I am totally distraught,” he said almost gleefully after Germany had finished humiliating the greatest football nation in the world. “I have been watching football for 50 years and this is a low point.” Even at half-time he was wallowing magnificently. Let’s let him off the leash here: “Never in the annals of time has there been a game like this. It’s utter humiliation. When you talk about every facet of defending, when you look at the organisation, the communication, the position, the cover, it’s about four levels below rock bottom. It is so bad it’s embarrassing.”

You can’t help thinking he would have been the only man on the planet who would have preferred to watch the other semi-final, between Holland and Argentina, which ended in a dire stalemate with both defences in control.

It was no surprise to hear on Alan Hansen – Player and Pundit (BBC1, Friday) that he isn’t the life and soul of the party when he’s off-screen. He hates glitz and glamour, which must be a relief for party-goers everywhere. His brother John revealed that he is “really shy and insecure and even on Match of the Day he’s really nervous”. It was the easygoing charm of Des Lynam that eased him into the role. Yet it was Hansen who suggested they analyse the game in greater detail rather than just looking at clips of the goals – a massive step forward by the former defender.

There has never been any love lost between his old club Liverpool and Manchester United, but John Hansen hates United because of Alex Ferguson’s decision to leave his little brother out of the Scotland squad for the 1986 World Cup.

Hansen is understandably more guarded on the subject, but was it this feud that gave rise to his most famous put-down, “You don’t win anything with kids”? Now three of those Fergie fledglings, the Nevilles and Scholes, are becoming pundits themselves. Even waffling on the telly is a young man’s game these days – or the incumbents are just getting old and stale.

A good time to get out, then, but will he really vanish from our screens? How about a nice gritty Scottish detective series along the lines of Taggart or Rebus? Hansen would give those two nightmares. And it’s about time the Scottish cop genre upped its game in the face of über-gloomy European imports like The Killing and The Bridge. But for now, we will just have to settle for a missing person.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style