There’s no doubt Alan Hansen was a brilliant pundit and commentator. However, nowadays, it is as wrong, as it is embarrassing, how companies across the broadcasting board handout the prestigious roles as if there isn’t a breadline reminiscent of the 1930s waiting outside the BBC and alike. For every Gary Neville, there’s 10 Paul Mersons; and that’s why your retired Hansens of this world are being missed in the gantry.
However, towards the latter years, Alan was becoming increasingly grumpy, which didn’t even make for decent TV viewing. It instead used to create an unnecessary tension, not built through decent debate, but through almost purposeful bitterness. His time was certainly up, and he will forever be remember for a phrase which adds to the Scots legacy: “You can’t win anything with kids.” As if the Class of ’92 needs more branding points, this was the line.
Still, this latter attitude, and awkwardness in the former Liverpool man’s approach makes his comments back in the 1994 World Cup all the more explanatory. A pretty insensitive man, who on occasion lacked a degree of dignity. Apologies to the English fans, but lets go back to this 1994 World Cup Final.
Half-time criticism from Lee Dixon and Ian Wright, members of England's 1994 World Cup winning squad. #ENGICE #Euro2016
— Matthew Fletcher (@iammfj) June 27, 2016
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The ’94 finals were a mess, they should have never been in America; it was purely part of FIFA’s grand plan of commercialisation through the sport. To be fair, seemed liked good sense: ‘Lets go to the country with the big boy companies, the blue-chip sponsorship we can gain from the great United $tates. Anyway, this bitterness towards FIFA is besides the point, as the most shocking event to come out of the World Cup, was the tragedy surrounding, Andre Escobar, the Colombian footballer murdered for the own goal scored against the hosts, USA.
This is where the insensitivity of Hansen comes into play. Shocking remarks which seemed to be forgotten, as we all idolised a man who gave an insightful analysis on our terrestrial screens for years on end; Saturday night – feet up and cuppa – perfect. The former Liverpool defender was commenting on a game between Argentina and Romania – a day after Escobar’s shooting – and came out with the following….
“The Argentine defender warrants shooting for a mistake like that.”
This carelessness, this sloppiness of remarks was just moments after the shooting of Andre Escobar in his own country. Think, Alan; think. It’s not hard to hold a degree of professionalism, to just remember such a horrifying incident when broadcasting. Call me harsh for saying how the Scotsman ‘got away with one’, but this slip of the tongue showcases a dark side to a man whose latter years were filled with nothing but spiteful awkwardness when on air.
On tv, Alan Hansen seems like a very grumpy, moody old man, and after meeting him today, I can confirm this.
— Tom Richardson (@Tom_Ricco) September 12, 2013
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The bottom line is, the tragedy around Escobar is a shocking moment in football’s history, and the lucky enough ex-pros who get to be there in the very moment of a World Cup have a job to report and add to the games. Lazy commentary, and a lack of professionalism crept into the BBC commentator’s reporting that day, and he was very lucky to get away such thoughtlessness.
Lets remember that the “kids” comment isn’t only the Scotsman’s poor choice of words across his commentating career, and think, is Alan Hansen all that he’s made out to be?
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