How Alan Hansen's famous Man Utd 'kids' quote came from another Liverpool legend

Former Liverpool player and BBC pundit Alan Hansen in the stands   (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former Liverpool player and former BBC pundit Alan Hansen is battling a serious illness in hospital, (Getty) (Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images)

Former Liverpool player Graeme Souness says he has spoken to his fellow Reds legend Alan Hansen after his hospitalisation, adding “he's definitely on the way back.”

Hansen is currently battling an unspecified serious illness.

Liverpool confirmed he was poorly in a statement released on 9 June, and his former colleagues have also sent messages of support.

Souness, who played with Hansen for both Liverpool and Scotland, revealed he had spoken to his former teammate on the phone on Sunday.

"I spoke to him yesterday, and he sounded fabulous, so I hope he's on the way to a full recovery," he told talkSPORT’s Outspoken podcast on Monday.

"He's definitely on the way back because he did nothing but take the mick out of me, so he's definitely on the way back."

Hansen made his now famous comment about Manchester United after the opening game of the 1995/96 Premiership campaign. (YouTube)
Hansen made his now famous comment about Manchester United after the opening game of the 1995/96 Premiership campaign. (YouTube)

Souness, who is currently working at Euro 2024 in Germany, said he had just entered a train when he got a call from “Big Al”.

He added: “I'm thinking, 'Oh. I don't want to answer that,' so I sat down and then I got the courage to phone back and he answered the phone.

“He's been in a difficult place, but the way he sounded yesterday, he's back, and I hope I'm right.”

It comes after former colleagues Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer paid an emotional tribute to Hansen during BBC’s Match of the Day Euro 2024 programme on Saturday.

Lineker said: “The news that Alan Hansen is seriously ill in hospital shocked us all.”

Shearer added: "We're thinking of you big man and we're with you. We're hoping, we're praying for you."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen attend the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2023 at Dock10 Studios on December 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images)
Liverpool legends Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen in 2019. (Getty) (Dominic Lipinski via Getty Images)

Hansen, who joined Liverpool in 1977, made 620 appearances for the club and claimed an impressive array of titles, including three European Cups, eight league titles, two FA Cups, and three League Cups.

After retiring from professional football in 1991, Hansen transitioned to a successful career as a television pundit.

During his tenure on BBC’s Match of the Day, Hansen famously expressed scepticism about Manchester United's ability to win the Premier League with young players.

His statement, "You can’t win anything with kids," became notorious after the Red Devils went on to secure the Premier League trophy and dominate for the next two decades with their golden generation of young players, including Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Nicky Butt.

Hansen (back row, third from left), said his famous Match of the Day line about Manchester Utd originated from his former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley (far right). (Getty)
Hansen (back row, third from left), said his famous Match of the Day line about Manchester Utd originated from his former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley (far right). (Getty) (Peter Robinson, PA Images)

Hansen later admitted that the quote originated from his former manager Bob Paisley, acknowledging that he had misjudged the potential of the young players, known as "The Class of 92".

He told former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp in 2016: “The line actually came from Bob Paisley."

Hansen had gone to ask the Liverpool manager why he had been left off the teamsheet, adding: "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.”

'You can't win anything with kids?'

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Eric Cantona, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Phil Neville of Manchester United celebrate in the dressing room with the FA Carling Premiership trophy after the match between West Ham United v Manchester United at Upton Park on May 11, 1997 in London. Manchester United 2 West Ham United 0.  (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
(L-R) Eric Cantona, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Phil Neville of Manchester United celebrate with the Premier League trophy in 1997. (Getty) (John Peters via Getty Images)

Hansen made the statement on Match of the Day in 1995 after Aston Villa had scored three goals in the first half against United and had gone on to win 3-1.

He heavily criticised the club for fielding inexperienced players and told host Des Lynam they wouldn't "win anything".

Lynam asked: “Well, United were scarcely recognisable from the team we've known over the last couple of seasons. What's going on, do you feel?”

Hansen replied: “I think they've got problems. I wouldn't say they've got major problems. Obviously, three players have departed.

“The trick is always buy when you're strong, so he needs to buy players. You can't win anything with kids.

“You look at that line-up at Manchester United today and Aston Villa, at quarter-past two, when they get the teamsheet, it's just going to give them a lift, and it'll happen every time he plays the kids. He's got to buy players, simple as that.”

Lynam added: “But they have, as Alex Ferguson pointed out, they have got star names to come in, they've got Cole and Giggs, Cantona in due course and Bruce.”

Hansen said. “And Cantona and Steve Bruce. Still not enough. The trick in winning the championship is having strength in depth. They just haven't got it.”

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