Only a Game? Where would sport be without partnerships?

Seven time F1 champion, Michael Schumacher with Ferrari team principal, Ross Brawn.
Seven time F1 champion, Michael Schumacher with Ferrari team principal, Ross Brawn.

Who do you think is the greatest double act of all time?

Michael Schumacher needed Ross Brawn, Jayne Torvill needed Christopher Dean and whilst some might not agree, Alex Ferguson needed Roy Keane.

Team sports will always depend on players working together but even in the world of Formula One where only one person can drive the car, there is a need to work closely with others.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the double act is on their own, those making up the duo, often present themselves as average when standing alone but when brought together they are unstoppable.

SAS, aka (Alan) Shearer and (Chris) Sutton were unstoppable in the 1990s.

During Blackburn Rover’s title win in 1994/95, Shearer netted 37 goals whilst Sutton scored 21.

Shearer is regarded by many as one of the greatest goal scorers to ever play in the English Premier League but Sutton is not.

When Sutton moved to Chelsea for the hefty fee of £10m in 1999 he only managed to score one league goal in 28 appearances.

Playing alongside Shearer did not only bring out the very best in Sutton but it took his ability to find the back of the net to a whole new level.

The same logic could be applied to Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke; Toto Schillaci and Roberto Baggio and Michael Owen and Emile Heskey. Dalglish and Rush, Di Stefano and Puskas, Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor and dare I say it, Shawn Michaels and Triple H; the list of great partnerships in the world of sport goes on. They are fascinating because more often than not a successful partnership is made of one person who is exceedingly talented than the other or in many other cases their skill sets complement one another.

Partnerships in sport are a phenomenon but for me, the best partnership in sport is between a sport, an individual or team and the fans.

Let’s face it, sports men and women like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sebastian Vettel and Serena Williams wouldn’t have the world stage to perform on if it wasn’t for sports fans like you and me.

In the world of sport, is there anything more organic than the relationship between and individual or team and the fans?

Soccer, Formula One and even tennis stars are often criticised for the way they have become so out of touch with the modern fan but without the supporters these sports would be nothing more than glorified pastimes.

It’s common place for sports stars to thank their fans for their support but at times, their words can come across as contrived and insincere.

Strikers like Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez understandably show interest when they are told they will be playing alongside a new strike partner but sometimes sportsmen and women can get lost in their own self importance.

The greatest ever partnership any team, individual or sport can ever hope to experience is with its respective fans.

Without fans, supporters, disciples, call them what you will, the world of sport would not bring us the sense of joy, heartache and passion that we have come to take for granted.

Sports fans make the world go around...