ANDY Murray, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Bobby Moore, Steve Redgrave, Mo Farah, Virginia Wade, Sally Gunnell, Jessica Ennis-Hill.

A collection of Britain’s most successful and famous sporting stars. And yet, while all of them excelled in their particular fields, they would no doubt fail miserably if they stepped foot onto an alternate turf or into a different arena.

So, while you could throw all of the above, and many more, into the debate when it comes to crowning Britain’s greatest ever sportsman/woman – surely that accolade should be bestowed upon someone who truly shone in a plethora of disciplines.

Max Woosnam can count among his many sporting successes winning gold and silver medals playing tennis at the Olympics, as well as captaining the Davis Cup team and winning the doubles tournament at Wimbledon; he played football for Manchester City and captained them as an amateur, as well as leading England too; he made a century at Lord’s while still a schoolboy and even compiled a maximum 147 break in snooker. He was also a scratch golfer too. And, just for good measure, he once beat Hollywood hero Charlie Chaplin in a game of table tennis, using only a butter knife.

So, why have most of us probably never heard of Max Woosnam? It’s odd, especially as he grew up in Powys.

Woosnam was born in Liverpool on September 6, 1892, to parents Maxwell Woosnam, a clergyman who served as canon of Chester and Archdeacon of Macclesfield, and Mary Seeley. Max was born into a family of landed gentry, with the Woosnam family associated with the Cefnllysgwynne estate, near Builth Wells. The young Max reportedly spent most of his childhood in Aberhafesp, just outside Newtown, before going off to boarding school in Hampshire, first at Horris Hill and then moving on to Winchester College and eventually Cambridge.

He captained the golf and cricket teams at Winchester, while also playing squash. His finest hour at the college came at Lord’s, arguably the most legendary cricket ground in the world, where he scored 144 not out for the Public Schools XI against Marylebone Cricket Club.

After enrolling at Cambridge in 1911, he embarked on a famous tennis career, as well as representing the prestigious institution at cricket and football. Woosnam’s footballing prowess was recognised immediately and he was chosen to captain Cambridge. He was so good, that in the summer of 1913 he was invited to join Corinthians FC, a well-known football club based in London, on their tour to Brazil, scoring the team’s opening goal.

He began to forge a name for himself as an outstanding centre-half, so it was no surprise when in early 1914, he was asked to play for London behemoths Chelsea. He played only three games before returning to Corinthians and another tour to Brazil beckoned. However, while Woosnam was still at sea, the British declared war on Germany and he returned to fight as part of the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry in World War I, fighting in the unsuccessful Gallipoli campaign between 1915-1916, where it is estimated that around 21,00 British troops were killed.

Woosnam was then sent to the trenches in France where he fought alongside the famous poet Siegfried Sassoon. Both men received distinctions for bravery.

After the war concluded, Woosnam returned to the sporting arena, where glory followed. In 1919, he began playing at centre-half for Manchester City as an amateur, working under their manager Ernest Mangnall, who had previously taken fierce Manchester rivals United to their first-ever trophy, the First Division title in 1908.

Noel Turnbull and Max Woosnam (r), of Great Britain, gold medal winners in the mens doubles at the 1920 Olympic Games in Belgium

Noel Turnbull and Max Woosnam (r), of Great Britain, gold medal winners in the men's doubles at the 1920 Olympic Games in Belgium

Noel Turnbull and Max Woosnam, of Great Britain, gold medal winners in the men's doubles at the 1920 Olympics

The idea of being paid to play as a professional seemed ‘vulgar’ to Woosnam, who was one of the many of his era to participate through their pure love of sport, with no financial gain. That made it all the more fascinating when he was named City captain at the behest of his more famous and illustrious, professional, teammates. Initially he played only home matches due to work commitments but when City, without Woosnam, suffered a shock 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Leicester City, some supporters blamed Woosnam's employers, Crossley Brothers. As a result, the engineering firm ordered Woosnam not to miss another game. As captain he led the team to a runners-up spot in the 1920/21 league championship – finishing five points behind champions Burnley.

In 1920 Woosnam burst on to word’s tennis stage. At the Olympic games in Antwerp, he and his partner Noel Turnbull won gold in the men’s doubles, while Woosnam won silver in the mixed doubles with Kathleen McKane.

The following year, he partnered Randolph Lycett to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles title and also captained the British Davis Cup team that competed in America.

It was during this trip to America that the famous match with iconic US actor Chaplin took place.

He beat Chaplin at a game of tennis and is then said to have beaten him at table tennis too – despite using a butter knife instead of a bat. The pair apparently took an immediate dislike towards each other as Woosnam was not keen on Chaplin’s ego.

In 1922, Woosnam resumed his football career and was awarded his sole England cap when he skippered his country to a 1-0 victory against Wales at Anfield.

The following year, he captained City in their first ever game at Maine Road upon its official opening, with the Lord Mayor present.

Unfortunately, 1923 was also the year Woosnam’s career started to burn out, after he suffered a broken leg, an injury which would have a lasting effect on the rest of his career and lead to his eventual retirement a few years later.

He worked for ICI, a chemical industry giant, in later life, becoming a member of the board, until his death on July 14, 1965, which was caused by respiratory problems, possibly down to a life of heavy smoking.

He married twice – firstly Edith Adelaide Johnston in 1917, who he had daughters Penny and Denise with and then Dorothy Perrin in 1940 after Edith died in 1939 – and it is only in his family life that the smallest of shadows is cast on Woosnam’s legacy.

While being interviewed for Woosnam’s biography, ‘All Round Genius – The Unknown Story of Britain's Greatest Sportsman’, by Mick Collins, daughter Penny described her father as an ‘imperfect hero’.

She said of Woosnam: “He was never really Max the father as much as he was Max, the sportsman”. Denise added: “Even in later life, sports took him away from his home with great frequency. Golf, snooker, squash and social games of tennis occupied every out-of-office moment. The sad truth is I never really felt I knew him.”

Nonetheless, they were not said to be resentful. They, like everybody else, adored him.

Though he may not be anywhere near as well known or as famous as those who have come after him, there can be no denying that Max Woosnam holds a place in history as one of Britain’s greatest yet forgotten heroes.