International news

Crippling nerves: The real reason Alan Hansen left TV and his current health battle

13. June 2024
Alan Hansen (foto: Getty Images)
Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen remains in critical condition in hospital, with the football community rallying to send their support and well wishes.

The 68-year-old's health status was confirmed by Liverpool FC on Sunday, stating they are in close communication with his family and will update fans as more information becomes available.

Hansen, who became a beloved figure at Anfield, amassed 620 appearances over a 14-year career with Liverpool, securing 25 major honours, including eight league titles and three European Cups. His legacy at the club is indelible, not only for his defensive prowess but also for his leadership and consistency.

Beyond his illustrious playing career, Hansen was a prominent figure in football punditry. He joined the BBC's Match of the Day in 1992, quickly becoming known for his candid and incisive analysis. Hansen's critiques, often highlighting "diabolical" or "shocking" defending, made him a distinctive voice in football commentary. Over his 22-year tenure, he covered 16 FA Cup finals, six World Cups, five European Championships, and an Olympic Games, marking him as one of the most experienced analysts in the sport.

Hansen announced his retirement from Match of the Day at the beginning of the 2013/14 Premier League season, stating it was the right time to step down after a 22-year run. “I will be 59 and it’s the right time for me. The BBC knows me well, and I made it clear that this decision was final,” Hansen explained. He completed his final duties as a pundit at the 2014 World Cup, expressing satisfaction at concluding his career on a high note.

However, in a revealing 2016 interview, Hansen disclosed that "crippling" nerves significantly influenced his decision to retire. He admitted that despite his extensive experience, the anxiety never waned and instead intensified over time.

There was no training, it was sink or swim. I was fortunate to work with Des Lynam, a master of the craft,” Hansen recalled. “But after 22 years, the nerves only got worse. It was one of the reasons I had to leave. I loved the people and the show at the BBC, but I couldn’t enjoy it because of the nerves.”

Hansen also shared his insecurities about his role as a pundit, confessing that he often felt overshadowed by his peers. “When I played, I didn’t like pundits, and as a pundit, I didn’t like the other pundits because I feared they were better than me. It was my insecurity.

Alan Hansen's impact on football, both on and off the field, remains significant. As the football world awaits further news on his condition, the outpouring of support highlights the respect and admiration he has earned throughout his career.

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