Alan Hansen addressed 'you'll never win anything with kids' claim with perfect admission

Alan Hansen got it “dramatically” wrong with his “You can’t win anything with kids” claim (Image: BBC)

Alan Hansen confessed he got his “you can’t win anything with kids” Manchester United prediction “dramatically wrong”. Hansen, who on Sunday was announced as seriously ill in hospital, revealed the truth behind his bold claim three decades ago.

The Liverpool legend enjoyed 14 stellar years at Anfield, where he won eight league titles and three European Cups. The Scottish defender also served as the Reds’ captain, lifting a staggering 23 trophies before hanging up his boots in 1991.

He immediately got into football media, establishing himself as one of the BBC’s top pundits thanks to his pioneering analysis. But he famously got it badly wrong on one occasion.

Speaking after a 3-1 United defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995/96 season, Hansen brutally stated that Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils side were too inexperienced to reclaim their title from Blackburn Rovers. The quote went down in English football history as a howler given how successful the Class of ’92 became, reaching lofty heights in their respective careers.

Addressing United’s title hopes in 1995, Hansen said: “I think they’ve got problems, I wouldn’t say they’ve got major problems. Three players have departed. The trick is to always buy when you’re strong, so he [Ferguson] needs to buy players.

“You can’t win anything with kids. You look at that Manchester United line-up today and Aston Villa when they get the team sheet it’s just going to give them a lift. It will happen every time he plays the kids. The trick to winning the championship is having strength in depth.”

Despite his scepticism, United’s young squad, featuring future legends like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, and the Neville brothers, went on to clinch the league title by four points.

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The Class of ’92 ended up winning Man Utd the Premier League that season (Image: Getty Images)

Hansen later revealed the now infamous quote had not come out as he intended, citing his former manager Bob Paisley as the source. He admitted he got his prediction “dramatically wrong” – but still maintained that experience played a pivotal role in United’s triumph.

In an exchange with Jamie Redknapp in 2016, Hansen was reminded: “You said ‘Manchester United would win nothing with kids’ – and then they won the title. You used to say that statement made you [as a pundit].”

Hansen responded: “They had a T-shirt on sale at Old Trafford, Man United sent me one. The line actually came from Bob Paisley.

“I was in my first season at Liverpool, we were struggling and Bob tells the press: ‘The only person playing half-decent is Alan Hansen.’ I think I’m doing all right. Of course, the team sheet comes in on the Friday and I’m the only one missing.

“So I go and see him and he just says: ‘Son, the longer you are in this game the more you will realise that experience is everything.’

“Fair enough. The more I played, the more I realised experience is everything. So, I’m thinking, I can’t say that on TV, so I flipped it, but what I meant to say is: ‘You can’t win everything with kids.’

“In the history of punditry, I imagine that phrase gets used more than anything else. I got it dramatically wrong… but in many ways it’s right. Even the Manchester United lads will tell you they had Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Peter Schmeichel in goal, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona. Experience, you see.”