Worth a punt

Once upon a time Liverpool's legends were new signings and unproven in the eyes of the fans and the media. It's interesting to see how they were portrayed at the time. Liverpool took a calculated risk on a young Scotsman such as reds might take on Totalizators where they could reap the benefits as Liverpool did when Hansen moved south from Scotland in 1977. .

This is how Alan Hansen was portrayed in Shoot! in May 1977. 

Liverpool very rarely make mistakes in the transfer market. People were heard to say: "Kevin who?" when they signed Kevin Keegan from Scunthorpe for a paltry fee.

Ray Clemence wasn't exactly a name on everyone's lips when he, too, joined up at Anfield from the same club. Now Liverpool have swooped into the market once again and the unknown this time is young Scot Alan Hansen, who cost £100,000 from Partick Thistle.

Hansen is in the same mould as other Liverpool central defenders Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson and Tommy Smith.

The talented Hansen has the ability to surge into attack and set up moves and finish them off. He is aware that he will not walk straight into the first team and says: "As far as I am concerned this could not have been a better move. They are the best team in the business and they have proved that conclusively over the years. It's going to be funny going down there and mixing with all those great players. At Firhill I was looked on as one of the stars because I had won international recognition. However I realise I am about to start my soccer education. I'm going to be put through the mill. Liverpool will want to groom me before I even get close to the first team!"

The £100,000 fee for Hansen will look like peanuts whenever the Scot reaches his full potential. Bolton made a desperate bid of £80,000 just before the transfer deadline in March, but manager Bertie Auld had no hesitation in turning it down flat. Southampton and Newcastle were also said to be interested, but there was no way Hansen was going to be allowed to leave Firhill for anything under £100,000. Liverpool watched him on several occasions and agreed with Auld's price.

The big occasion brings out the best in Hansen and he says: "I'm really looking forward to life as a Liverpool player and I'm determined not to let them down."

It's unlikely he will do so...

It is safe to say that Shoot!'s prediction came true! The writer at the magazine might not have envisaged that Hansen would become Liverpool's best ever central defender. Hansen became known for dribbling the ball out of defence with style rather than hoof it upfield prompting Paisley to remark: 'He has given me more heart attacks than any player I have ever known.' Problems with his knees curtailed that aspect of his game from the 1985/86 season onwards being forced to subject himself to cortisone injections to be able to play. Hansen was hardly a battering ram of a central defender his vision allowing him to stay on his feet instead of crashing into attackers as he himself noted: "There are no prizes for guessing I was never sent off and hardly ever booked - most managers would say that this is a ridiculous record for a central defender." The Scotsman's teammates often remarked how calm he seemed before games that reflected in his cool and calculated play on the field. Hansen admits he suffered terribly from pre-match nerves but once he got on the field he was in his element that benefited Liverpool for years to come.


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