The Premier League’s forgotten strike-partnership that is forever overlooked

Harry Kettle

People always bang on about how the modern day style of English football produces better forwards and finishers, but they’re wrong. It’s a fabrication. Case and point, some duos don’t get the credit they deserve and that just winds us up for a treat. For example, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were probably the greatest Premier League duo of all time – where’s their recognition?

In an era where white hot strikers were about as common as the last name Smith, it seems likely that a few superstars are going to fall through the cracks. Naturally there are some that don’t get enough media coverage meanwhile others simply let their personal lives overshadow what they’ve done on the pitch.

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Whatever the case may be, there’s no rhyme or reason why we, as a community, shouldn’t be constantly discussing the marvellous work of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. To put it as simple as possible, these two men defined what it means to have a strong as nails relationship with your strike partner. Fact.

Upon the beginning of their journey in August 1998 when Yorke first signed for United, many were uncertain as to what Ferguson’s plans for the two men were. After all, the quality that the Red Devils had in their ranks made fighting for a place in the starting line-up every week all the more difficult.

“Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Sheringham and Solskjaer – it was a golden time for us.”

Sir Alex Ferguson

You had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham waiting in the wings for a chance to shine, but during that first season of the Cole/Yorke alliance they shouldn’t have even got a sniff. The reason for that is within that time period, the two men scored 53 goals between them and Fergie’s men lost just one of the games they started together. Now whilst you can also praise the defence for that, it was the almost telepathic understanding the two men had between them that lifted them from “good” to “utterly spectacular”.

Whilst finishing was their primary source of quality, it was the vision and timing both players had to pick out the other that made things so special. You rarely saw two forwards be that unselfish, constantly feeding off of each other in order to service the greater good – Manchester United‘s success.

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It wasn’t a one off, either. The following campaign saw Yorke and Cole share another 46 goals between them, with possibly their crowning moment coming when they combined to net an absolutely divine goal against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

The creativity. The in sync nature of the movement. The commentator describes it best when calling the move “out of this world” and it proves that years before Barca brought that style to the forefront of football, these two men were already mastering it.

After playing a vital role in the treble winning season, the two men would once again link up at Blackburn Rovers. Was it the same? Of course it wasn’t, but that’s not the point. The point is that in an era where we are saturated with great football, we never get the time to just sit and bask in the glory of the men who started off that legacy of the two-man strikeforce.

 

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