Thursday, 3 March 2011

When Two Become One......

Morecambe & Wise , Posh & Becks, Salt n' Vinegar or Katie Price we all have our favourite pairings, none more so than in the world of football. Whether it be a defensive partnership or management duo they're everywhere, sometimes the players come as a package, or at times they just click and are forever synonymous with each other.
So we thought we'd have a look at just a few of them in this selection of Footballing Duos.

Defensive Duos - Tony Adams & Steve Bould (Arsenal)
Once upon a time Arsenal were an ugly footballing team and I don't mean Donkey Adams, I would never be so rude! No, they were a team that would win by the odd goal & then shut up shop. The offside trap was employed more times than the magic sponge at Highbury, but with Arsene Wenger taking over the football became better.Like him or loathe him Adams was a commanding figure in central defence and a born leader not just for The Gooners but also for England on occasion. Steve Bould came in from Stoke under George Graham, who seemed to make a habit of going out and buying a new defender every season when most of the North Bank were crying out for a striker. Obviously he knew what he was doing and by bringing Bould in formed the "famous four" of Winterburn, Adams, Bould & Dixon who would be the backbone of the Arsenal team for years to come.
Other Candidates
Steve Bruce & Gary Pallister (Manchester Utd)
Alan Hansen & Mark Lawrenson (Liverpool)

       Imported Pairings - Ossie Ardiles & Ricky Villa (Tottenham Hotspur)

It seems to be the norm these days for the latest foreign star to visit our shores to test their footballing abilities against our boys, but back in the late seventies/early eighties it was virtually unheard of. Following on from the ticker tape World Cup Final of 1978 the hosts and winners were to supply one of the great and most fondly remembered double acts in British football.
Ossie had played in the Final and as Argentina numbered their squad alphabetically Ardiles actually wore the number two shirt, Villa also in the squad though not as established still won 25 caps for his home nation. When they were unveiled to more ticker tape by Spurs boss Keith Burkenshaw, it really could have been an alien landing at White Hart Lane! The idea of bringing both of them as a package was of course to help them settle down and they even had neighbouring houses in nearby Hertfordshire. Villa scored on his debut, as well as that most memorable of FA Cup Final goals in the 1981 replay against Man City and the then traditional Cup Final song penned by another duo, "Rockney" stalwarts Chas n' Dave helped Ossie gain more popularity with the Lillywhite half of North London already impressed with his silky skills. Ossie of course came back to the team he loved for an unsuccessfull spell as manager, but both Argentinians are still widely regarded as heroes at the club and were inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Other Candidates
Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano (West Ham Utd)
Arnold Murhen & Frans Thijssen (Ipswich Town)

       England Strike Pairings - Gary Lineker & Peter Beardsley
Sometimes the greatest decisions can be made for us, that was the case for Bobby Robson at the Mexico World Cup of 1986. Like many an England Squad pre-tournament, they were expected to do well and having to play the likes of Morocco & Poland in the Group Stages it looked like a bye to the next round was in the offing. But as we have come to realise England decided not to do things the easy way, instead losing to Portugal and only managing to draw nil nil against Morocco they were face first round elimination. Beardsley had been on the perhyery of things and had come on as a sub against Portugal and didn't play at all in the next game. But the fates were to conspire and an injured Bryan Robson along with a sent off Ray Wilkins forced Sir Bobby into a rethink & a reshuffle of his cards. In came Beardsley for the must win Poland game and the rest as they say is history. The second highest top scorer for his country Gary Lineker described his geordie co-striker as the best player he has ever been partnered with. They eventually managed 36 goals between them  playing together at International level.
Other Candidates
Alan Shearer & Teddy Sheringham
Geoff Hurst & Roger Hunt
     Domestic Strike Partnership - Kenny Dalglish & Ian Rush
Maybe not all partnerships are fifty-fifty as the other half might try and tell you when she wants to borrow the car keys. There should always be the provider and the finisher and this duo proved it in spades. Although Dalglish waded in with his fair share of goals he was more the creator for that ultimate goal poacher Ian Rush. Again this pairing was bought about by chance, Bob Paisley had decided to play Dalglish in a slightly more withdrawn role after the player had had a rare off game and the formula was struck. From then on, it was Rush as the out and out striker with Dalglish playing just off him in the "hole". Perhaps not so well known in the English League back then, but the norm nowadays with the likes of Beardsley, Sheringham and Van Der Vaart playing in that role over the years. In their most successful season the Anfield front line scored 50 goals between them whilst playing together.
Other Candidates
Alan Shearer & Chris Sutton (Blackburn Rovers)
Dwight Yorke & Andy Cole (Man Utd)

Management Duos - Brian Clough & Peter Taylor
I don't think there can be any argument about this one (I could be wrong obviously!)
Like an old married couple Clough & Taylor had their ups & downs. But until their final falling out in 1983 they had been through a lot together, through thick & thin, the goods times (Derby & Nottingham Forest) and bad (Brighton & Hove Albion) they'd even had their brief break ups (Clough to Leeds for a short break, while Taylor stayed at Brighton) but they still ended up together.
Taylor had been a goal keeper during his playing days and started out successfully in management on his own at Burton Albion before joining up with the more high profile ex-pro Brian Clough at Hartlepool. When it came to the workings of the partnership Taylor was the talent spotter while Clough had the man management skills needed to get the best out of the rough diamonds that had been unearthed for him. Of course their legacy lives on, at Derby taking them  from Division Two to the Champions of the old First Division in 1971/72 and Forest with one title, four League Cups, one Charity Shield and of course two European Trophies. For those achievements to be reached today by the equivalent clubs would be unheard of and only adds to the miracles accomplished by these two great men.
Other Candidates
Alex Ferguson & Brian Kidd (Man Utd)
Kevin Keegan & Terry McDermott (Newcastle Utd)

So there we have it! Duos, partnerships, double acts, do you agree or disagree? Let us know what you think..
And I'll leave you with this from one footballing duo who decided to take their teamwork into the charts....surely it's time for a cover version from Defoe & Crouch??

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