Alan Hansen remembers to forget Liverpool and that Arsenal curse
ALAN Hansen earns £40,000 a week to tell Match of the Day viewers that Arsenal can’t defend and Manchester United are a decent bet for the title whilst using a graphics package to track players about to score. Last Sunday night, we tuned in to see Manchester City clinch the Premier League title in a spellbinding thriller. The Premier League is not the best in the world (Italy is). It is not the most skilful (Spain). It is not the most watched (Germany). But it is the most exciting. City’s win was epic. What the show’s host, Gary Lineker, wanted to know was where City’s victory stood in history.
Gary Lineker asked Hansen: “Have you ever, in your life, seen anything like that?”
Hansen replied: “No.”
Can the sober, low-key BBC have adopted the Sky’s mantra that football was born when Sky began broadcasting games 20 years ago?
It is every Arsenal fan’s burden that when the Gunners won the title with pretty much the last kick of the season in 1989, the match was broadcast on ITV. (The big plus side of that was that tapes of the game feature not the hideous drawl of the dire Brian Motson, but the words of Brain Moore, the great football commentator.) ITV only held exclusive right to live top flight English football between 1988 and 1992. It was a small sliver of otherness between the BBC monopoly and Sky. It means that the greatest finale ever, when Arsenal won the title by the most slender of margins at the home of the country’s most revered side, is hardly ever show on the telly.
Maybe this is why Alan Hansen, a football expert on footballer’s wages, can’t recall the game. Or it might be that he can never recall anything negative about Liverpool, not even able go counter Kenny Dalglish’s argument that Liverpool did not get just rewards for their performance in the league – a position that flies in the face of the mantra that the league table does not lie.
It might be worse than that. Because playing at number 6 for Liverpool on May 26 1989 was… Can you guess. Go on. Yep, Alan Hansen.
Note: That is my ticket. I am a biased, die-hard Gooner. And May 26, 1989 was the greatest night of my life. I was there. All sports fans will know what it is to say that. Pundits however…