Alan Hansen
Former Liverpool players Kennedy, Hansen and Lawrenson take their seats for a memorial service to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster at Liverpool's Anfield stadium in Liverpool

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has issued a public apology following comments made on Match of the Day last night, when he described black players as "coloured" during a debate on the show.

The former Anfield stalwart, who won eight league titles during his remarkable Liverpool career, was discussing the recent racism rows involving Luis Suarez and Chelsea and England captain John Terry.

The Liverpool hero released a statement, saying: "I unreservedly apologise for any offence caused. This was never my intention and I deeply regret the use of the word."

According to the Daily Mail, during the programme the Liverpool hero's comments sparked a furious response on the social networking site Twitter.

Former Tottenham player Rohan Ricketts allegedly expressed his displeasure at Hansen's use of the word by tweeting: "Is this Alan Hansen guy taking the f****** piss?? I'm not coloured??? He is part of the problem when using that word. We are BLACK Alan! Wtf [sic].'

"Alan Hansen is more coloured than a black person. But still we would not call him or another white man coloured." Ricketts said of the former Liverpool captain.

Hansen's comments on the long-running BBC football show, come just days after Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches and fined £40,000, subject to appeal, for racially abusing the Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. The Criminal Prosecution Service yesterday confirmed Chelsea defender John Terry should face criminal charges over his alleged abuse of Anton Ferdinand.