How Alan Hansen's famous Man Utd 'kids' quote came from another Liverpool legend

The Liverpool legend, 68, who is currently ill in hospital, once revealed that his famous Match of the Day line came from another Merseyside footballing icon.

Former Liverpool player and BBC pundit Alan Hansen in the stands   (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former Liverpool player and former BBC pundit Alan Hansen is battling a serious illness in hospital, (Getty)

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen, known for his stellar performances on the pitch and his influential punditry career, is currently battling a serious illness in hospital.

The Anfield club confirmed Hansen was poorly in a statement released on Sunday, and his former colleagues have since also sent messages of support.

“The thoughts and support of everyone at Liverpool FC are with our legendary former captain Alan Hansen, who is currently seriously ill in hospital,” a statement read.

The 68-year-old, who joined Liverpool in 1977, made 620 appearances for the club and claimed an impressive array of titles, including three European Cups, eight league titles, two FA Cups, and three League Cups.

After retiring from professional football in 1991, Hansen transitioned to a successful career as a television pundit.

Hansen made his now famous comment about Manchester United after the opening game of the 1995/96 Premiership campaign. (YouTube)
Hansen made his now famous comment about Manchester United after the opening game of the 1995/96 Premiership campaign. (YouTube)

During his tenure on BBC’s Match of the Day, Hansen famously expressed scepticism about Manchester United's ability to win the Premier League with young players.

His statement, "You can’t win anything with kids," became notorious after the Red Devils went on to secure the Premier League trophy and dominate for the next two decades with their golden generation of young players, including Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Nicky Butt.

Hansen (back row, third from left), said his famous Match of the Day line about Manchester Utd originated from his former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley (far right). (Getty)
Hansen (back row, third from left), said his famous Match of the Day line about Manchester Utd originated from his former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley (far right). (Getty)

Hansen later admitted that the quote originated from his former manager Bob Paisley, acknowledging that he had misjudged the potential of the young players, known as "The Class of 92".

He told former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp in 2016: “The line actually came from Bob Paisley."

Hansen had gone to ask the Liverpool manager why he had been left off the teamsheet, adding: "So I go and see him and he just says: ‘Son, the longer you are in this game the more you will realise that experience is everything.’

“Fair enough. The more I played, the more I realised experience is everything. So, I’m thinking, I can’t say that on TV, so I flipped it, but what I meant to say is: ‘You can’t win everything with kids.’

“In the history of punditry, I imagine that phrase gets used more than anything else. I got it dramatically wrong... but in many ways it’s right. Even the Manchester United lads will tell you they had Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Peter Schmeichel in goal, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona. Experience, you see.”

'You can't win anything with kids?'

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Eric Cantona, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Phil Neville of Manchester United celebrate in the dressing room with the FA Carling Premiership trophy after the match between West Ham United v Manchester United at Upton Park on May 11, 1997 in London. Manchester United 2 West Ham United 0.  (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
(L-R) Eric Cantona, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Phil Neville of Manchester United celebrate with the Premier League trophy in 1997. (Getty)

Hansen made the statement on Match of the Day in 1995 after Aston Villa had scored three goals in the first half against United and had gone on to win 3-1.

He heavily criticised the club for fielding inexperienced players and told host Des Lynam they wouldn't "win anything".

Lynam asked: “Well, United were scarcely recognisable from the team we've known over the last couple of seasons. What's going on, do you feel?”

Hansen replied: “I think they've got problems. I wouldn't say they've got major problems. Obviously, three players have departed.

“The trick is always buy when you're strong, so he needs to buy players. You can't win anything with kids.

“You look at that line-up at Manchester United today and Aston Villa, at quarter-past two, when they get the teamsheet, it's just going to give them a lift, and it'll happen every time he plays the kids. He's got to buy players, simple as that.”

Lynam added: “But they have, as Alex Ferguson pointed out, they have got star names to come in, they've got Cole and Giggs, Cantona in due course and Bruce.”

Hansen said. “And Cantona and Steve Bruce. Still not enough. The trick in winning the championship is having strength in depth. They just haven't got it.”