A tribute to Alan Hansen
Love him or hate him, Alan Hansen has changed the face of British football. An ever-present in the dominant Liverpool side of the 1980s, he’s remembered by many people for his steely performances at centre-back for the Reds.
September 6th, 2013
Aside from his massively successful Sports Challenge video game, he is better known these days as one of three blokes who sits on a sofa on live television of a Saturday night, criticising the actions of our current crop of Premier League players using the sort of clichés and one liners which by comparison would make Arnie’s Mr Freeze character in that terrible Batman film (sample quote: “stay cool!”) look like Stephen Fry.
Aided and abetted by a flock of commentators across the sports networks, Hansen brought into the game a type of language which, while a fresh alternative to the straightforward play-by-play coverage given to games before that time, is now a fairly stale and lazy way to describe the game. His dry tone could reduce a six-goal thriller to a dire slog just by speaking slowly enough, while his stock use of the phrase “time and time again” now sounds so drawn-out that he could instead literally pronounce it as “tie-ugh-tie-agay” and we’d know just what he’d said like he did a hundred times before.
So in tribute to the retiring Alan Hansen, we present the worst of the current crop of clichés.
“Should’ve hit the target from there”
It’s generally fine if we’re talking about a free header in the box, but as the result of a mazing run or incredible control from a long ball? Also, what target are we talking here? Can’t we just say “should’ve scored a goal” instead?
“Raise your hands and it’s a red”
This is a sad indictment of today’s game when, in the heat of confrontation, one player tends to raise his hands and is immediately punished, even if he’s only putting his hand up for a pass. Or is answering a brainteaser during a session in the classroom.
“Your (football team or player, but pluralised)”
This one is summed up (and believe me, we’ll get to that one later) so much better by the boys from BBC sketch show Burnistoun than I could ever do justice.
“Went down too easily”
Yes, he did, didn’t he? Almost as if gravity itself was powerless to stop that player from tripping himself up in the box to try and win a penalty. Never mind whether or not there was contact, if we need to redefine the laws of physics before every match then we’re in for a sorry time indeed.
“Sums up their whole game really”
It does, doesn’t it? That moment in the 82nd minute when, too late to count as part of the proper match narrative but too early for a “final change to the script”, a tired player who’s been tearing down the wing the whole game for his team, who desperately need a goal, is just inches short of getting the ball as it tamely rolls into touch. That is the moment where you’ve decided that his whole performance was for nothing. The lazy sod.
Sorry. Kind of lost it a bit there.