The 'crippling' reason Alan Hansen quit Match of the Day and disappeared from TV – Football News

The 'crippling' reason Alan Hansen quit Match of the Day and disappeared from TV

Hansen retired from Match of the Day in 2014 (Image: Getty Images Europe)

Football legend and former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen is currently battling a serious illness in hospital, with the football community rallying around to send their heartfelt wishes.

Liverpool FC shared an update last week about the 68-year-old’s grave condition, assuring fans that they are in constant communication with his family and will relay information as it comes. Hansen is revered at Anfield for his stellar 14-year career, during which he made 620 appearances and clinched an impressive 25 major titles, including eight league championships and three European Cups.

Hansen’s sharp insights as a pundit on Match of the Day also won him acclaim, where his candid critiques of poor defending became his trademark, often branding it as “diabolical” or “shocking”.

Joining the BBC’s flagship football programme in 1992, Hansen became a fixture on television screens, providing analysis for 16 FA Cup finals, six World Cups, five European Championships, and even an Olympic Games. He called time on his punditry duty in 2014 after a distinguished 22-year run, signing off following the World Cup final.

Reflecting on his departure from broadcasting, Hansen remarked at the beginning of the 2013/14 Premier League season: “I’m retiring from Match of the Day at the end of the season. I will have been there for 22 years and will be 59, so it’s the right time for me.

“The guys at the BBC know me and I said, ‘Look, this is categorical. I’m leaving and nothing will make me change my mind’. I am contracted to do the World Cup and I will do that as it will be a good way to go out, but I have had a great run. ‘I’ve been in football for 41 years and I’m going out right at the top, just as I did at Liverpool.”

However, it later emerged that “crippling” nerves played a significant part in Hansen’s exit, with the man himself admitting that fact in a 2016 interview. “There was no training, it was sink or swim,” he said.

“I was lucky to work with a master, Des Lynam.

“After 22 years I kept on telling myself I wouldn’t get so nervous, but it got worse. That was one of the reasons I left.

“I was getting more nervous and I’d say: ‘What are you doing? ‘ The BBC were terrific, I loved the people and Match of the Day but I didn’t enjoy the nerves.”

He added: “When I played I didn’t like pundits. When I was a pundit I didn’t like the other pundits because I was scared they might be better than me. Honestly, I thought they were all better than me. It was my insecurity.”

Hansen’s Match of the Day colleague Gary Lineker also spoke of the Scotsman’s nerves last year, explaining: “He was incredibly nervous, which is why he quit. He got so nervous. He used to shuffle his feet on the floor.”

However, the presenter added: “He was probably the first person that went down the more analytic route, a path now followed by so many. He was a brilliant pundit.”

Since his departure from the BBC ten years ago, the ex-centre back has been leading a relatively low-key life with his wife Janet and their two children, Adam and Lucy. Besides football, he is also passionate about golf and was part of the BBC’s coverage of the Masters before he left television.

Last year, he had the honour of presenting his former Liverpool and Scotland teammate Sir Kenny Dalglish with the BBC Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement Award during the SPOTY awards in Salford.