Liverpool legend and Match of the Day staple Alan Hansen answers silly questions for FourFourTwo.
Hi Alan. Before becoming a footballer, you spent six weeks working for General Accident insurance. Did you have to do the photocopying?
Oh, it was terrible. The first day, all I did was filing. It was so easy I thought: “This is the greatest job ever!” The next day I realised it was incredibly boring. I went from elation to despair. The worst time was lunch hour. I’d get left in the office on my own to man the phones. It was sheer terror.
Why so bad?
Someone would call wanting insurance. I’d have to give them a quote. I worked out that if I gave them a ridiculously high number, they’d never call back. I did everything I could to avoid work. Thankfully, the football started going well and I got out.
Lucky. Now, according to Wikipedia, you got your scar from “a volleyball-related incident”. Could the journalist’s favourite online fact-file be right? What occurred?
It’s true. I was 17. It was only volleyball-related because I was running late for a match and ran through a glass panel. It was alongside the door and looked like an open space. Three people had already walked into it that day, but I was the only one to go straight through.
Horrible. The blood was shooting out my head. The worst thing was, the manager of the youth club started going mad because I was getting blood all over his carpets. I was rolling on the floor half dying, with no idea what was going on, with him shouting at me.
Do you ever tell people you got the scar knife-fighting with sailors?
No. I think running through a window is a fantastic story. I was a right state afterwards. I was pimply, 6ft 2in, with long hair and a crazy scar. It didn’t stop bleeding for weeks and I had to walk round with gauze on my head. If it was ever really warm or cold, the scar lit up like a Belisha beacon. Not pretty.
The Kop like to chant about a team of Carraghers. But what would a team of Hansens have been like?
Pretty bad. The Hansen goalkeeper would be terrible, and I was useless up front. I’d get through on goal sometimes and didn’t know what to do. I physically couldn’t kick it! So my team wouldn’t score. We’d give the Carraghers a good game – we’d have the pace, he’d have the determination. But not many goals.
You still live on the same street as Kenny Dalglish. Do you ever nip round to borrow his lawnmower?
He’s just round the corner. I don’t loan things, but he does come round to repair my computer. I’m useless with technology, but Kenny’s got IT skills. He loves gadgets. I’m hopeless. When my son was young I bought him a Scalextric, and Kenny had to come round to set it up because I couldn’t do it. It was really embarrassing.
What do you dream about at night?
I used to have a recurring dream in which I was sitting my A-levels, but hadn’t done any revision. In fairness, that was quite close to reality. But it’s a nightmare to go through again.
Quite. Finally, what are the three greatest nuts in the mixed nut bag?
Peanut, cashew and hazelnut. I’m all for keeping it simple.
Very wise. Thanks for chatting.
That's where the magazine feature ended – but we found more in our archives...
You’d make an excellent TV detective. Whose sidekick would you like to be?
It’s got to be Taggart, hasn’t it? We’d go up to Glasgow and solve a few murders.
You’ve got some Danish roots. Do these ever come to the fore? Are you a bacon fan?
My granddad was Danish. If it’s spelt Hansen it’s Danish; if it’s spelt Hanson it’s Swedish. But that doesn’t stop half of my mail being addressed to Alan Hanson. It’s a real bane to me, and it happens time and time again.
What are the other banes of your life, Alan?
People always say I’ve got 16 Liverpool medals, but I’ve got 17. Nobody counts the 1982 League Cup because I didn’t play in the final. But I played in every round, so they made me a medal. They’re on display in the Liverpool Museum – 17 of them. But time and again people say I’ve got 16.
You’re a keen golfer. Have you ever followed a sign to a massive golf sale?
Who’s on the bill at Hansenbury?
Oh, Motown acts. I can’t get enough Motown. And I’d go for Billy Joel as headliner – he’s great. My dream would be to see Billy Joel in New York. He’s touring with Elton John next year, so maybe I can make that happen.
Gary Gillespie once told me that you spent much of your Liverpool career playing pranks. What’s your favourite?
I phoned up John Barnes pretending to be a Scottish mate of ours once, asking for cup final tickets. He developed the world’s worst stutter, and told me that he didn’t have any, and didn’t know how many he’d get, even though he’d got some that morning. Barnes wasn’t a great liar.
What’s on the wallpaper of your mobile phone?
I’ve got no idea. I wouldn’t even know how to change it. I’ll have to ask Kenny – he’d have it switched round in a jiffy.
Interview: Nick Moore. From the January 2010 issue of FourFourTwo.