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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

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 hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee