Max Woosnam might be one of the sporting names only few know about, however it is a name many should look to learn as much as possible about.
Max Woosnam was the ultimate sportsman in his day, as he was a footballer, a cricketer, a tennis player and a tennis player who managed to achieve a number of accomplishments. Add to those feats, he was also an Olympic champion.
Away from sport, he was also a World War 1 soldier, thus achieving more in his life than anyone could ever possibly imagine.
As a schoolboy, he captained the golf and cricket teams, while also playing squash. During his cricket days, he managed to score a 144 not out for the Public Schools XI against Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
As a student at Cambridge University, he forged a tennis career, before representing the university in football and cricket as well. If online betting were a thing in those days, punters would have flocked to place a wager on betting24.se as you would be able to guarantee a winner with him.
In 1913, Woosnam joined Corinthian FC on their tour of Brazil and signed for them shortly after, despite playing for Chelsea in the odd game every now and again.
Following the conclusion of the First World War, he returned to sports and played as a centre-half for Manchester City.
Ernest Mangnall, who managed Manchester City from 1912 to 1924, once said of Woosnam: “I have known time after time when the arrival of Max Woosnam in a town has been regarded as a social function in itself. People have swarmed around the team on arrival and have excitedly asked if he were with them.”
Woosnam played as an amateur as he did not appear to agree with the possibility of being paid to play football and played for his love of the game instead.
Although it was not uncommon for players to play two sports in the mid 20th century, as men like Denis Compton and Ted Drake showed, Woosnam decided to opt for tennis in 1920.
At the Olympic Games in Antwerp, he won gold in the men’s doubles with Noel Turnball, and silver in the mixed doubles with Kathleen McKane.
In the following year, Woosnam partnered up with Randolph Lycett to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles title, whilst he also captained the British Davis Cup team that competed in America.
It was during this trip to America that the British side were invited to meet Charlie Chaplin at his home, and it is fair to say Woosnam left his mark.
He beat Chaplin at a game of tennis and is also said to have beaten the Hollywood star at table tennis, despite using a butter knife instead of a bat. It is also said that the pair took an immediate dislike towards each other as Woosnam was not keen on Chaplin’s ego.
After a couple of years in tennis, he decided to return to football and won an England cap when he captained the country to a 1-0 win over Wales at Anfield in 1922.
In 1922, Woosnam resumed his football career and was awarded his sole England cap when he captained his country to a 1-0 victory against Wales at Anfield. He also captained Manchester City at their first-ever game at Maine Road, but 1923 saw him suffer a broken leg and ultimately send his career downhill.
Nonetheless, a scratch golfer and a fine snooker player who managed a maximum break of 147, Woosnam had it all and will have to go down as one of Britain’s Greatest Sportsmen.