Alan Hansen admitted famous Man Utd saying wasn't his in stunning confession to Jamie Redknapp

Former Liverpool and Scotland defender made the infamous comment about Manchester United's title chances back in 1995
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen once admitted to ex-Reds captain Jamie Redknapp that his infamous line about Manchester United's title chances back in 1995 was actually a quote from Bob Paisley.

The Scottish defender became an Anfield icon as a mainstay during the team's glory era, starring between 1977 and 1990 - winning eight league titles and three European Cups. After hanging up his boots on Merseyside, he embarked on a successful punditry career with the BBC's 'Match of the Day'.

Earning a reputation as an insightful and straight-talking broadcaster after taking up his role in 1992, Hansen was credited with revolutionizing the analysis of the game on television. However, his comments on the state of play at Old Trafford in the wake of United's opening day of the 1995-96 Premier League campaign went down in history for the wrong reasons.

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After the Red Devils fell to a 3–1 loss versus Aston Villa, the Kop hero admitted that he could not see a situation where Alex Ferguson's side would challenge for major honors that season. Giving his assessment of the situation after a host of big-name departures from the club that year, he quipped: "You can't win anything with kids."

His analysis came as Ferguson looked to blood academy graduates Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt after the sales of Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, and Andrei Kanchelskis that summer. Explaining his reasoning, Hansen asserted: "I think they’ve got problems, I wouldn’t say they’ve got major problems. Three players have departed. The trick is to always buy when you’re strong, so he [Ferguson] needs to buy players.

"You can’t win anything with kids. You look at that Manchester United line-up today and Aston Villa when they get the team sheet it’s just going to give them a lift. It will happen every time he plays the kids. The trick to winning the championship is having strength in depth."

Those comments eventually were proved premature as United rallied from their opening day defeat to win the title by four points over challengers Newcastle United and Liverpool. However, Hansen later explained to ex-Reds skipper Redknapp that the remarks were not actually coined by him.

Manchester United coach Brian Kidd  and manager Alex Ferguson lift the Premier League trophy after the final match of the 1995/96 season
Manchester United coach Brian Kidd and manager Alex Ferguson lift the Premier League trophy after the final match of the 1995/96 season -Credit:Getty

During their conversation back in 2016, the Scotsman admitted: "You said 'Manchester United would win nothing with kids’ - and then they won the title. You used to say that statement made you [as a pundit]. They had a T-shirt on sale at Old Trafford, Man United sent me one. The line actually came from Bob Paisley.

"I was in my first season at Liverpool, we were struggling and Bob tells the press: 'The only person playing half-decent is Alan Hansen'. I think I’m doing all right. Of course, the team sheet comes in on the Friday and I’m the only one missing. 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'.

Adding further context as he looked to clarify the comments over 20 years on, he said: "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."