Alan Hansen can be described as calm under pressure, cold on the ball, and an integral part of the meanest defense in the history, of Football Club.
Rated by many as the club’s finest ever center-half, the elegant Scot boasts one of the most impressive medal collections in football.
During his 13 years on Merseyside Hansen helped to bring eight league titles and three European Cups to Anfield. In 1986 he captained the Reds to their first ever double.
Signed from Partick Thistle for £100,000 on the recommendation of legendary Celtic boss Jock Stein, Hansen arrived on Merseyside as a skinny and shy kid.
He made his debut in a 1-0 home win over Derby County in September 1977 and played in the following year’s European Cup final triumph over FC Bruges at Wembley.
It was not until the high 1978-79 season, however, that ‘Jocky’ finally ousted the legendary Emlyn Hughes from the team and made one of the two center-half berths his own.
Relying on the brain rather than brawn, very few center-forwards ruffled Hansen. A crisp tackler, his reading of the game was exceptional, and he’s widely regarded as one of the most skillful center-halves in British football history.
The defender was at his most majestic when striding forward with the ball at his feet, turning defense into attack in the blink of an eye. This skill was never better illustrated than on an unforgettable afternoon at Goodison in November 1982, when he set up Ian Rush for the first of his four goals in a much-celebrated 5-0 romp.
Whoever his defensive partner was, and there were a few during his Anfield career, Alan never seemed phased. Like a fine wine, he seemed to get better with age, and when new player/boss Kenny Dalglish decided to relieve Phil Neal of the captaincy in 1985, the center-back was a natural successor.
He reveled in his new-found responsibility and led by example as the Reds clinched a coveted league, and FA Cup double at the end of his first season in possession of the armband.
Astonishingly, despite winning 26 caps for Scotland, Alan was snubbed by his country for the 1986 World Cup. A gross error of misjudgment baffled everyone at Anfield.
But his legendary status increased as he skippered the club to a further two championships before a serious knee injury curtailed his career.
It’s often said that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and it was no coincidence that Liverpool was to endure almost a decade of defensive frailty following his retirement.
Once touted as a future manager, Alan has since carved out a successful career in the media, notably as a pundit on Match of the Day. He remains a highly respected figure, not just among Liverpudlians but within the game in general.