Updated: Sunday, 19th November 2017 @ 8:06am

MM’s top five... Greater Manchester sporting heroes

MM’s top five... Greater Manchester sporting heroes

By Matt Simpson

As the home of two of the country’s biggest football clubs and the training base for British Cycling, Manchester has always had a great sporting tradition.

And as a result of this the region has produced some of Britain’s best sport stars, so here MM takes a look at Greater Manchester’s finest sporting heroes...

5. Jason Kenny (1988- )

Hailing from Bolton, Kenny has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the cycling world, going from competing in a junior domestic series to Olympic champion in just three and a half years.

Kenny made his Olympic debut at Beijing in 2008 where he won gold in the Team Sprint and silver in the individual event, finishing behind teammate Sir Chris Hoy.

The 25-year-old was then selected ahead of Sir Chris for the Individual Sprint for London 2012 and did not disappoint, winning gold and also defending his title in the team event.

With his success continuing into 2013 with a gold medal in the Keirin at the UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, the future is rosy for one of Britain’s top cyclists.

4. Michael Atherton (1968- )

Currently a successful broadcaster and journalist, Failsworth-born Atherton will be most famously remembered for his impressive 14 year career as a professional cricketer.

A right-handed opening batsman, the 45-year-old was a Lancashire stalwart and amassed an incredible 21,929 runs in 336 first-class cricket matches.

His success with the bat for his home county inevitably brought about an England call-up and ‘Athers’ duly made his is international debut against Australia in 1989.

Twelve years later, Atherton called time on an international career in which he rose through the ranks to captain his country at just 25 years old.

3. Ricky Hatton (1978- )

Born in Stockport and raised in Hyde, Hatton became one of Britain’s most feared boxers in the Light Welterweight and Welterweight divisions.

And with his impressive knockout rate – 71% of his 45 professional wins – the 34-year-old Manchester City fan certainly lived up to his moniker, ‘the Hitman’.

Hatton took a hiatus from fighting after defeats to Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, eventually retiring from the sport after being stopped in his comeback fight by Vyacheslav Senchenko in 2012.

2. Fred Perry (1909-1995)

Nobody knew when Perry won Wimbledon for the third time in 1936, 77 years later we would still be waiting for a British winner at SW19.

A Stockport native, Britain’s greatest ever tennis star became the first player to win all four of the Grand Slams and won eight major singles titles between 1933 and 1936.

Also a Table Tennis world champion, Perry was surprisingly not universally admired in the UK and was ostracised by the tennis establishment after turning professional following his final Wimbledon victory.

1. Paul Scholes (1974- )

Hailed by France legend Zinedine Zidane as the ‘complete footballer’, Salford-born Scholes’ glittering career at Manchester United finally came to end this year.

The 38-year-old won 11 Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League trophies during his 20-year stint at Old Trafford.

Alongside Zidane, a host of footballing legends, including Thierry Henry, Luis Figo and Socrates, have sung the praises of the diminutive midfield master.

To his credit, Scholes’ personality is a stark contrast to that of the stereotypical professional footballer so much so he would no doubt be modest about sitting at the top of this list.

Picture courtesy of TerryGeorge via Flickr, with thanks

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