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Top five punditry partnerships - Jimmy Greaves, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and more

Since soccer has been broadcast on TV, fans have been blessed with some iconic punditry pairings. From laughs to heated debates, these duos will be remembered for being the face of the weekend.

With the sad passing of Jimmy Greaves, the soccer world has lost one of the most respected, prolific strikers of all time.

Greaves started his career at Chelsea and went on to play for AC Milan, Tottenham and West Ham. It was at Spurs where he enjoyed his best spell, netting 266 goals in 379 games.

The forward also netted 44 times for England in 57 appearances and was a member of the 1966 World Cup-winning squad.
Greaves continued to make many soccer memories after his retirement. He partnered the legendary Ian St John on ITV Saturday lunchtime show Saint and Greavsie which ran from 1985 to 1992.

To mark Greaves' passing, Planet Sport has taken a trip down memory lane to pick out some of the most iconic TV punditry partnerships, starting with the best of the lot.

Saint and Greavsie

Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves were a match made in TV heaven.

A calm and full of laughter St John, together with a highly opinionated, gruff, but hilarious, Greaves, madeSaint and Greavsie iconic.

The casual style of the show, with its mixture of light-hearted chat and heated debate made for highly enjoyable viewing. The well-known phrase "it's a funny old game" was first used by Greavsie on the show and soon became his catchphrase.

The pair were unbreakable, so unbreakable that when Greavsie missed a show due to illness, his Spitting Image puppet filled in for the former Spurs striker.

The show ran from 1985 to 1992, but due to the creation of the Premier League and the introduction of Sky, ITV lost the rights to the top division and discontinued the show.

Their final broadcast together came during the 1992 European Championships, where they ended with a song, belting out the The Last Time as they rode off on a pedal bike.

They will forever be remembered as the ultimate soccer pairing.

Carragher and Neville

One of the most unlikely punditry pairings of the modern era. A Scouser and a Mancunian? Who would've thought it?

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher are the face of Sky Sports soccer punditry, the modern-day Saint and Greavsie if you will.

In 2015, Neville and Carragher were put together for the very first time on Sky's Monday Night Football, and as the decade progressed, so did the pairs' relationship.

Although their analysis is top quality, their former soccer rivalry is still present, bringing great debates and fantastic entertainment to our screens.

Their passion for the game - as well as their humour and competitiveness - creates a casual atmosphere, almost as if it is two mates in the pub.

Their laughter off the pitch, is accompanied by their serious tactical analysis. They are iconic for this generation of soccer fans, and some would argue have already become irreplaceable.

Hansen and Lawrenson

Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson were the centrepiece of Liverpool's defence during their domination of the top flight in the 1980s.

With eight titles between the two, they continued their success off the field as a perfect punditry pair.

Hansen and Lawrenson worked for the BBC on Match of the Day, transferring their relationship from their playing days onto our television screens.

Hansen was passionate, but calm, and a rational analyst, providing soccer fans with statements of 'shocking', 'poor' and 'diabolical' in a strong Scottish accent.

He even once remarked that "you can't win anything with kids," during the season Manchester United won the league with the class of '96, something that is joked about to this day.

Whereas for Lawrenson, his laid back, sarcastic and almost surly style balanced out his well opinionated partner, creating a great TV pairing, similar to their defending days.

Hansen retired from broadcasting in 2014. Lawrenson has continued in his punditry role for the BBC but in a less prominent position as younger former pros have muscled their way on to our screens.

Wright and Shearer

After the departure of defenders Hansen and Lawrenson, Match of the Day opted to for a strike partnership in the guise of Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.

Two icons of the Premier League and now two icons of television punditry.

These two together are a bundle of laughs, with their punditry filled with digs at one another's playing career, as well as some quality analysis.

Before Match of the Day, Wright admitted he hated Shearer because of how good a goalscorer he was. However, since partnering up with the Premier League record goalscorer, they have created an amazing friendship.

Wright's loud and outgoing personality has rubbed off on the dour Geordie striker. "We've just found as the years have gone by working together, we just enjoy working with each other," said Wright about their relationship.

"We're two different personalities but deep down there's a bit of devilment in Alan Shearer. People don't know but now they're starting to see it which is really good.
"I'm really pleased that I can call him my friend and we've got such a good time now."

Gray and Keys

Andy Gray and Richard Keys were the face of English soccer's revolution on Sky Sports. As the English game was moving out of its hooliganism era into the Premier League, Sky Sports gained the rights to the top flight, replacing Saint and Greavsie with the all new Gray and Keys.

Andy Gray, the former Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker partnered up with anchor Richard Keys to become the first punditry pairing of the modern era.

The duo were iconic for covering Sky Sports' Super Sunday, Monday Night Football, as well as the Champions League.

Gray's passionate analysis accompanied with the banter of Keys was a perfect pairing for growing Sky Sports. Laughter, energy, and passion were important to their relationship but more crucially, had a huge impact for Sky's viewing figures.

However, it all turned sour in 2011, as the seemingly bulletproof pair became too big for their own boots.

Sexist comments towards assistant referee Sian Massey forced the broadcaster's hand. Gray was sacked, and Keys resigned. An embarrassing end to a successful partnership that dominated for 19 years on Sky Sports.

Now considered outcasts by most of the British media, Keys and Gray have rekindled their partnership in Qatar as the faces of BeIN Sports' English and European soccer coverage.

READ MORE: Sleeping giants: Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and other English clubs who should be better

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