Famous 20th Century British Sportspersons

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century British Sportspersons, including Jamie Vardy, Charles Salvador, David Beckham, Lewis Hamilton and Wayne Rooney.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century British Sportspersons

 1 David Beckham

David Beckham
75
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: May 2, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
David Beckham is a former English footballer who was football superstar on-field and a heartthrob off-field. A former player for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Milan, among others, Beckham was a free-kick specialist, a brilliant crosser of the ball and the first English player to win league titles in four countries. His passion for football, charisma and fashion style have made him an international sensation.  

 2 James Hunt

James Hunt
9
Famous As: Racing driver
Birthdate: August 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Belmont, Surrey, England,
Died: June 15, 1993

James Hunt was a British racing driver who earned the nickname 'Hunt the Shunt' for his action-packed and often reckless exploits on the track. In 1976, he won the Formula One World Championship in his first year with McLaren, which inspired several teenagers to take up motor racing. James Hunt has inspired racers, such as Kimi Räikkönen.

 3 Mo Farah

Mo Farah
15
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: March 23, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mogadishu
Long-distance runner Mo Farah shot to fame with his 10,000-meter and 5,000-meter wins at the 2012 London Olympics. The first athlete to score a quadruple double, Farah has won 10 major international titles. He became the European Athlete of the Year thrice and has also received the CBE.
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 4 Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury
12
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: August 12, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wythenshawe, Manchester, England

A 2-time world heavyweight champion, British Tyson Fury has had an undefeated run in his 32 matches, with 31 wins and 1 unlucky draw in a match against Deontay Wilder. He has also released a bestselling memoir, Behind The Mask, and was named to the Forbes list of the World's Highest-Paid Athletes 2020.

 5 Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker
23
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: November 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leicester, England

Gary Lineker is a British former football player who currently works as a sports broadcaster. Considered one of the greatest British strikers of all time, Gary Lineker is the third-highest goal-scorer for England. During his 16-year playing career, Lineker never received a red or yellow card, due to which he was honored with the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1990.

 6 Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins
14
Famous As: Actor who gained noteriety for his role as Yuri Boyka in the 2006 film Undisputed 2
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sutton Coldfield

Scott Adkins is an English actor, producer, and screenwriter. He is a trained gymnast and martial artist and is best known for his action films. He played Casey Bowman in the film Ninja and its sequel Ninja: Shadow of a Tear. He considers Jean-Claude Van Damme to be his idol and has appeared in four films with him.  

 7 Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer
14
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: August 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gosforth, England
Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has also worked as a BBC football pundit and a football manager. The Euro 1996 Golden Boot-winner has also represented Southampton and Blackburn Rovers, winning the 1994-1995 Premier League with the latter. With 260 goals, he became the Premier League’s leading goal-scorer.
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 8 Jenson Button

Jenson Button
12
Famous As: Formula One driver
Birthdate: January 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frome, England

 9 Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton
10
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: October 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ashington, Northumberland, England

Widely considered one of the greatest players ever, Bobby Charlton was an important member of the England national football team that emerged victorious at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. The recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Ballon d'Or, Charlton received a knighthood in 1994. He is the second-highest goalscorer for England.

 10 Davey Boy Smith

Davey Boy Smith
16
Famous As: Professional wrestler
Birthdate: November 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Manchester, England, UK
Died: May 18, 2002

 11 Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart
5
Famous As: Racecar driver
Birthdate: June 11, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

 12 Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe
7
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe scripted history as the longest-reigning champion ever in boxing, having defended the WBO title for more than a decade. Excelling in both super-middleweight and light-heavyweight categories, he had registered 46 wins in 46 fights by the time he retired. He now owns a boxing promotion company.

 13 David Coulthard

David Coulthard
9
Famous As: Racecar Driver
Birthdate: March 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Twynholm
Former race-car driver David Coulthard, also known as DC, gained fame for his 15-season stint with Formula One. He has 13 Grand Prix wins and 62 podium finishes to his credit. Following his retirement from F1, he worked a BBC commentator and later joined the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series.

 14 Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard
21
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: May 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Whiston
Steven Gerrard spent most of his career as a Liverpool midfielder and also captained Liverpool and the English national team. His phenomenal performance in the 2006 FA Cup Final led it to be called The Gerrard Final. The Order of the British Empire member now manages the Scottish club Rangers.

 15 Michael Owen

Michael Owen
17
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: December 14, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chester, England

 16 Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish
19
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: September 10, 1995
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Birmingham, England

Jack Grealish is an English professional footballer. At present, he is affiliated with Premier League club Manchester City and the England national team. He plays as a  winger or attacking midfielder. He joined the Highgate United Youth Club as a boy and started playing professionally as a teenager. He is known for his ability to run and dribble past defenders. 

 17 Colin McRae

Colin McRae
5
Famous As: Co-driver, Racecar driver
Birthdate: August 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lanark
Died: September 15, 2007

 18 Nigel Mansell

Nigel Mansell
7
Famous As: Formula One driver
Birthdate: August 8, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, England

 19 Adam Peaty

Adam Peaty
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: December 28, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Uttoxeter Uttoxeter, England

 20 Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold
7
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: October 7, 1998
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

 21 Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate
11
Famous As: Football manager
Birthdate: September 3, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Watford, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Gareth Southgate is an English football manager. A former player, he used to play as a defender and midfielder for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, and Crystal Palace. He retired in 2006, after more than 500 league appearances and began his stint as a football manager. He has been managing the England national team since 2016. 

 22 James Anderson

James Anderson
8
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: July 30, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Burnley, Lancashire, England

 23 Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham
18
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: October 2, 1997
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Camberwell, England

Tammy Abraham is an English footballer. He currently plays as a striker for Serie A club Roma and the England national team. He is an academy graduate of Chelsea and made his first-team debut for the club in 2016. Since then, he has played for Bristol City and Aston Villa, scoring 25 goals in a single campaign for the team. 

 24 Ian Wright

Ian Wright
14
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: November 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Woolwich, London, England

Ian Wright is an English former football player. Renowned for his speed, Wright played for popular clubs like Arsenal and helped his national team qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. After retiring from the sport, Wright went on to become a TV and radio personality; he currently contributes as a commentator for ITV Sport and BBC Sport.

 25 Damon Hill

Damon Hill
5
Famous As: Formula One driver, Businessperson
Birthdate: September 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

 26 Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire
10
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: March 5, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sheffield, England

 27 Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey
6
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: December 26, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Caerphilly, Gwent, Wales

 28 James Milner

James Milner
7
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: January 4, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wortley, Leeds, England

 29 John Terry

John Terry
11
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: December 7, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barking

 30 Kieran Trippier

Kieran Trippier
7
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: September 19, 1990
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bury, England

 31 Jim Clark

Jim Clark
4
Famous As: Formula One driver, Farmer
Birthdate: March 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fife
Died: April 7, 1968

 32 Graham Hill

Graham Hill
3
Famous As: British racing driver
Birthdate: February 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England
Died: November 29, 1975

 33 Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff
10
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: December 6, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England, UK

 34 Dillian Whyte

Dillian Whyte
8
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: April 11, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Port Antonio, Jamaica

Born in Jamaica, Dillian Whyte moved with his family to the UK as a 12-year-old. Initially a British kickboxing champion, he later moved on to boxing. He was banned for 2 years for consuming a banned drug. He apparently had his first child at age 13, becoming one of the world’s youngest fathers.

 35 Eddie Hall

Eddie Hall
12
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: January 15, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, UK

Eddie Hall is a British former professional strongman who won the World's Strongest Man 2017 competition. Previously, he had won the UK's Strongest Man and England's Strongest Man competitions many times. As a young man, he trained as a bodybuilder and entered the strongman circuit. He is the subject of the documentary titled Eddie: Strongman.

 36 Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes
10
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: November 16, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Salford, Greater Manchester, England
Paul Scholes, former Manchester United midfielder, had a 20-year stint with the team, winning major titles, including 11 Premier Leagues, 3 FA Cups, and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues. Over the course of his 718 appearances for the team, he has won 25 trophies. He now coaches Salford City.

 37 Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere
6
Famous As: Football - Midfielder for England
Birthdate: January 1, 1992
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England

 38 Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker
6
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: May 28, 1990
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sheffield

 39 Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe
7
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: October 7, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beckton

 40 Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll
4
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: January 6, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gateshead

 41 Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes
6
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: June 4, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

 42 Tom Daley

Tom Daley
4
Famous As: Diver
Birthdate: May 21, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Plymouth, England

 43 Denise Lewis

Denise Lewis
3
Famous As: Athletics competitor
Birthdate: August 27, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Bromwich

Denise Lewis is a British sports commentator and former athlete. She won the heptathlon gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and became the first European to win Olympic gold in the heptathlon. A two-time Commonwealth Games champion, Lewis also won silver medals in the 1997 and 1999 World Championships. She was also the 1998 European Champion. 

 44 Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand
9
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: November 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Camberwell, England

 45 Chris Eubank

Chris Eubank
11
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dulwich, London, England

British boxer Chris Eubank has been ranked the third-best super-middleweight boxer of all time in Britain. Initially raised in Jamaica, he later returned to Britain but lived amid poverty and battled drug and alcohol addiction, till he stepped into boxing, inspired by his elder brothers.

 46 Fred Perry

Fred Perry
5
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: May 18, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stockport, England
Died: February 2, 1995

Fred Perry was a British tennis player. A former world No. 1, Perry won three successive Wimbledon Championships from 1934. He won eight Grand Slam tournaments, including a Career Grand Slam. He was the first player and only British player to date to achieve a Career Grand Slam. Also a table tennis player, Perry was the world champion in 1929.

 47 Linford Christie

Linford Christie
6
Famous As: Retired Sprinter
Birthdate: April 2, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Andrew, Jamaica

Linford Christie is a Jamaican-born British former sprinter who won gold medals in the 100 meters at the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. He is one of the most highly decorated British athletes of all time. He was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1993. 

 48 Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole
11
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: December 20, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stepney

 49 Eric Dier

Eric Dier
6
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: January 15, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cheltenham, England, UK

 50 Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes
4
Famous As: Middle-distance runner
Birthdate: April 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tonbridge and Malling

Kelly Holmes is a retired English middle-distance athlete who specialized in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters events. She won gold medals for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Beginning her career with the British Army, she turned to professional athletics in 1993. She took part in her final major championship in 2004.