Welcome back to Last Word On Football’s look at some of Liverpool’s most iconic figures. From players to managers, we look at who has an impact during their time at the club that no Liverpool fan will ever forget. Next up is no-nonsense defender, Alan Hansen.
Hansen played an integral role in Liverpool’s success during the 1980s, collecting 25 pieces of silverware across his fourteen years with the Reds. He built a strong reputation as a leader and no-nonsense defender.
Icons Of Liverpool: Alan Hansen
A Fantastic Debut Season Showing Signs of Things to Come
Hansen arrived in September 1977 for a cool £100,000 making his debut in a narrow win against Derby County at Anfield. His first Liverpool goal would follow a month later in a European cup win over Dynamo Dresden. While appearances were largely sporadic in his first season, he still played a major role in Liverpool’s success in 1977/78. Hansen’s first piece of silverware was the 1978 European cup as Liverpool saw off FC Bruges by a single goal. The defender started the final helping Liverpool keep a clean sheet.
Becoming a Regular Choice at The Back
The following season saw Hansen really make his breakthrough in the side with the defender becoming a regular at the heart of the Liverpool defence. Hansen secured his first league title as a Liverpool player in 1978/79 and formed part of a record-breaking defence which conceded just four league goals at Anfield.
Following Emlyn Hughes’ departure in 1979, Hansen became all the more important to Liverpool and once again helped Liverpool dominate English football as consecutive league titles were secured in 1980.
Hansen would continue to play an integral role in Liverpool’s success as the 1980s arrived. 1980/81 saw Liverpool collect the league cup and European cup but they missed out on the league to Ron Saunders’ Aston Villa team.
The following season saw Liverpool return to the top of English football and retain their league cup with Hansen once again playing a vital role. However, European cup success would elude the Reds following a quarter-final loss to CSKA Sofia. Hansen was becoming of English football’s best centre-halves and he was recognised for his efforts by making the 1981/82 team of the season – the first of six appearances in the PFA Team of the season for the Scottish defender. The 1982/83 season was Liverpool once again retain the league and league cup in Bob Paisley’s final season in charge before his retirement. Hansen once again made the team of the season for his outstanding performances.
A Tremendous Treble
The 1983/84 season is one full of fond memories and unforgettable moments as Liverpool secured the treble with Hansen at the forefront of their success. The centre half was outstanding in all three competitions organising the Liverpool defence under new manager, Joe Fagan.
Hansen was certainly involved in the 1984 league cup final following a controversial incident which denied Merseyside rivals Everton a goal. Liverpool won the eventual replay to secure a third consecutive league cup and the first of their treble. The league soon followed with the European cup on the horizon. Hansen collected his final European cup in 1984 as Liverpool saw off Italian giants Roma on penalties.
Becoming Liverpool Captain
The following season would bring huge contrasts from 1984/85. Liverpool failed to win any trophies and the Heysel disaster saw Liverpool banned from European competition. The Heysel disaster match would prove to be Hansen’s final European match and consequently see his Liverpool career slow start to reach its conclusion.
Following the Heysel disaster, Joe Fagan resigned as Liverpool manager and Hansen’s close friend and teammate Kenny Dalglish took over the reins. Dalglish immediately made Hansen Liverpool captain, a decision which delighted Hansen. He thrived in the role leading by example and helping Liverpool return to domestic glory. Hansen’s first season as captain saw him lift the FA Cup and league title.
However, 1986/87 brought no silverware as Liverpool missed out on several trophies. Despite the lack of trophies, Hansen made the PFA Team of the Season for the fourth time.
Hansen’s Importance in Vital Transition Period
The lack of silverware during the 1986/87 season prompted Dalglish to sign younger players and incorporate more academy products in the Liverpool side. Hansen’s leadership qualities were vital in this period as Dalglish signed young players like John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and John Barnes. The change in players saw Liverpool return to the top of the English football pyramid as Hansen secured his seventh league title as a Liverpool player.
Injuries and Retirement
Hansen’s final years at Liverpool saw injuries take over restricting his appearances in the team. A shoulder and persistent knee injury began to take its toll on the defender. Despite his restricted appearances in his final years, he still helped Liverpool win the FA Cup in 1989 and the League title in 1990. Hansen’s eighth league title was an English footballing record for an individual’s number of league titles.
After 620 appearances and fourteen years of service for the Reds, Hansen retired in March 1991 after the injuries became too much. Hansen left during a tough period for the Reds following Dalglish’s resignation and struggles to find the right replacement. Despite a quiet departure, he left a Liverpool icon and hero for his outstanding performances, no-nonsense style and determination to bring success to a fanbase who idolised him.
Alan Hansen: A True Liverpool Icon
Hansen was a loyal servant for Liverpool and will be fondly remembered for his leadership at the back and outstanding displays. The defender arrived unknown but left a true hero and is still adored by Liverpool fans. 25 pieces of silverware across fourteen years emphasises how much of an impact he had. Hansen is a true Liverpool icon.