Thursday, June 21, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 12: Alan Hansen


Voted in at number 12 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series is arguably this club's finest ever centre-back, Alan Hansen.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Alan Hansen

Years at Liverpool: 1977 to 1991
Position: Defender

Date-of-birth: 13/6/1955
Birthplace: Sauchie (Scotland)

Signed from: Partick Thistle (May 1977)

Games: 620
Goals: 14

Honours: First Division Championship (1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1985/86, 1987/88, 1989/90), European Cup (1978, 1981, 1984), FA Cup (1986, 1989), League Cup (1981, 1983, 1984), Charity Shield (1979, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1989)

Cool on the ball, calm under pressure and an integral member of the meanest defence in Liverpool history, Alan Hansen in a red shirt was class personified. Rated by many as this club's finest ever central defender, Hansen can boast one of the most impressive medal collections in football. He was at the heart of the Liverpool back four for 13 years and during that time it's difficult to remember him turning in a poor performance. Signed from Partick Thistle for £100,000 on the recommendation of legendary Celtic and Scotland boss Jock Stein, Hansen arrived on Merseyside as a shy, skinny kid but quickly 'beefed up' and was soon pushing for a first team place. He made his debut in a 1-0 home win over Derby County in September 1977 and played in the following years European Cup Final triumph over FC Bruges at Wembley but it was not until the magnificent 1978/79 season that he finally ousted the legendary Emlyn Hughes from the team and made one of the two centre half berths his own. This was the campaign in which Liverpool famously conceded just a miserly 16 league goals and Hansen played in all but eight of the 42 games. Relying on brain rather than brawn, very few centre forwards ruffled him. A crisp tackler, his reading of the game was exceptional. Widely regarded as one of the most skilful centre halves in the history of British football his game oozed elegance and his graceful style was tailor-made for Liverpool's penchant for patiently building from the back – a tactic that brought them huge success at home and abroad. His pace, control and vision was as effective in creating attacks as in stopping the opposition's and his aptitude was underlined by his multi-sport prowess which also embraced international recognition at basketball, volleyball, squash and golf, a game at which he still excels. He was at his most majestic when striding forward with the ball at his feet, turning defence into attack at the blink of an eye, a trait never better illustrated than on that unforgettable afternoon at Goodison in November 1982 when he set up Ian Rush for the first of his four goals in that much-celebrated 5-0 romp. Whoever his defensive partner was, and there were a few during the course of his long tenure at Anfield, he never seemed phased and the plaudits deservedly came his way, as did a glittering array of honours. Like a fine wine, he seemed to get better with age and when new player/boss Kenny Dalglish decided to relieve Phil Neal of his captain duties in 1985, Hansen was the natural successor. He reveled in his new-found responsibility and lead 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, he was snubbed by his country for the 1986 World Cup – a gross error of misjudgment that baffled everyone at Anfield - but 'Jocky's' qualities were never under-appreciated on the Kop. His legendary status increased as he skippered the club to a further two championships before a serious knee injury eventually curtailed his career. It's often said that you don't really miss what you've got until it's gone and it was no coincidence that Liverpool were to endure almost a decade of defensive frailty following his retirement. Once touted as a future manager of the Reds, Hansen has since carved out a successful career in the media and remains a highly respected figure, not just among Liverpudlians but within the game in general.

Sold to: Retired (1991)

Claim to fame: Captaining Liverpool to the League and FA Cup double in 1986

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