Liverpool legend Alan Hansen 20 years on, but apart from Manchester United side was he actually right?

Sir Alex

This season marks 20 years since Manchester United made a mockery of Liverpool great Alan Hansen's infamous quote 'You'll never win anything with kids'.

The former Match of the Day pundit uttered the immortal words when analysing the performance, or lack of it, of Sir Alex Ferguson's young Red Devils side after a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa in 1995-96.

Hansen was merely doing what he was paid to in voicing his opinion.

But given the emotive nature of football his words were used as a rod with which to beat him for the rest of his career as United went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup that season with a team whose average age was 26.5 years.

Rivalry fanned flames but facts speak for themselves

While the Liverpool and Manchester United rivalry undoubtedly fanned the flames over the years as Hansen was constantly reminded of his statement, was he in fact correct?

The facts speak for themselves.

Since Hansen's statement, only Chelsea have won the Premier League title with a younger squad than that Manchester United side dubbed 'Fergie's Fledglings'.

And that came 10 years ago when Jose Mourinho led a Blues side with an average age of just under 26 to the title.

Hansen's assessment that you needed a certain amount of experience in your team if you wanted to challenge for honours is backed up by the fact that around half of the teams emerging as champions over the past 20 years have had teams with an average age of between 28 and 29.

Comments need context

The former Scotland international's comments must also be put into context.

Having sold experienced trio Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis in the wake of Manchester United’s failure to win the 1994-95 title, Ferguson had started the next season with six players aged 20 or under in the defeat at Villa Park.

Hansen saw the funny side when he was reminded of the statement over the years but always maintained it was as relevant today as it was then, and that the Red Devils were just a "one-off".

Now retired from his long career as a pundit, many may remember him for that line and surmise he wasn't very good at his job.

But history has proved him right and if anything he can look back and say it is the line that made him as one of the game's top authorities on the sport he loved.

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