The real reason Alan Hansen disappeared from TV and BBC Match of the Day

Alan Hansen is 'seriously ill' in hospital
-Credit: (Image: 2010 Getty Images)

The football world is showing its support for Liverpool legend Alan Hansen as he battles serious illness in hospital.

Liverpool FC confirmed on Sunday that the 68-year-old former Scotland player - revered at Anfield following an illustrious 14-year spell which saw him make 620 appearances and win an incredible 25 major trophies including eight league titles and three European Cups - is currently receiving medical care. The club are maintaining contact with Hansen's family and has promised to keep supporters informed with any developments regarding his condition.

Hansen is not only known for his achievements on the field but also for his candid punditry on Match of the Day after hanging up his boots. Renowned for his forthright critiques, particularly of substandard defending, which he famously labelled as "diabolical" or "shocking", he was considered one of the UK's best pundits for nearly two decades.

He joined The BBC's premier football show in 1992, offering insights on 16 FA Cup finals, six World Cups, five European Championships, and even an Olympic Games, reports the Mirror. Hansen retired from his role as a pundit in 2014 following the World Cup final, stating at the time: "I'm retiring from Match of the Day at the end of the season. I will have been there for 22 years and will be 59, so it's the right time for me."

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In a forthright admission, Hansen disclosed: "The guys at the BBC know me and I said, 'Look, this is categorical. I'm leaving and nothing will make me change my mind'. I am contracted to do the World Cup and I will do that as it will be a good way to go out, but I have had a great run. I've been in football for 41 years and I'm going out right at the top, just as I did at Liverpool."

Yet, in a later reflection during a 2016 interview, Hansen opened up about his struggles with severe nerves which influenced his decision to leave, as he looked back on his career and battles with anxiety. "There was no training, it was sink or swim," he explained. "I was lucky to work with a master, Des Lynam.

"After 22 years I kept telling myself I wouldn't get so nervous, but it got worse. That was one of the reasons I left. I was getting more nervous and I'd say: 'What are you doing? ' The BBC were terrific, I loved the people and Match of the Day but I didn't enjoy the nerves.

"When I played I didn't like pundits. When I was a pundit I didn't like the other pundits because I was scared they might be better than me. Honestly, I thought they were all better than me. It was my insecurity."

Echoing these candid revelations, Gary Lineker, the current host of Match of the Day, recounted his colleague's battle with nerves: "He was incredibly nervous, which is why he quit. He got so nervous. He used to shuffle his feet on the floor." Lineker gave a nod to his former co-star's impact, stating: "He was probably the first person that went down the more analytic route, a path now followed by so many. He was a brilliant pundit."

The ex-defender has lived an inconspicuous life since leaving the BBC a decade ago, rarely spotted in public with his family wife, Janet and their two children, Adam and Lucy. In one of his recent rare public sightings, he was seen at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in Salford where he presented his former Liverpool and Scotland teammate, Sir Kenny Dalglish, with the BBC Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement Award.