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City DNA: #2 'Gentleman Max - ultimate sportsman'

City DNA: #2 'Gentleman Max - ultimate sportsman'
The second our new series focuses on an extraordinarily talented individual...

#2 Max Woosnam: The Greatest Sportsman of all-time?

Who:Max Woosnam, often referred to as the “greatest British sportsman”, played for City from 1919 to 1925. Woosnam was gifted in almost every sport he took part in and made 93 appearances for the Blues, scoring five goals.

Some of his many achievements include Olympic titles, a century of runs at Lord’s Cricket Ground and a 147 break at snooker.


‘Gentleman’ Max Woosnam joined City from Corinthians in November 1919 and was one of the great sportsmen of his or any era. A six-times Cambridge Blue at golf, tennis, squash, football and more, he also won a Wimbledon doubles title and an Olympic gold medal for tennis at the 1920 Antwerp Games.

READ: City DNA: What it means

Popular, and, as his nickname suggests, the perfect gentleman, he even on occasion carried a handkerchief around the pitch to befit his image. Well-groomed, immaculately dressed and respected by all, Woosnam was a huge success with the City fans and this gifted man was also a powerful defender who captained both City and England.

He was also a pioneer of amateurs being allowed to play with professionals increasing his popularity even more within the game, especially when he took a stand against the Amateur Football Association over the matter. He once commented that he found the thought of becoming a professional sportsman “vulgar”.

There was a feeling that Max’s multi-talents prevented him becoming a master of one.  Undoubtedly, he would have become the best in his field had he concentrated on just one sport, but he enjoyed so many, where would the fun have been in that?

He broke his leg on a fence that surrounded Hyde Road in 1922 and in October 1925 he left for Northwich Victoria, having made a lasting impression on the Blues.


Woosnam once defeated movie star Charlie Chaplin at tennis, then at table tennis using a butter knife instead of a bat before pushing himself into his own swimming pool! Max was also a war hero, fighting on the Western Front during World War One.

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