My Saved Shows
      You haven't saved any shows yet!

A selection of sports stars you might not know are from Essex

09 Jun A selection of sports stars you might not know are from Essex

Not everyone is aware of it, but Essex is actually a pretty talented county. While some people associate the area with reality television shows and spray tan shops, there are sports fanatics from Colchester to Epping Forest who are undoubtedly wishing that more of a light was shone on the array of sports heroes Essex can lay claim to. 

The county has, in fact, produced some of the finest sportsmen and women England has ever seen from a wide variety of sports. From international footballers and darts players to athletes and cricketers, Essex is home to many talented professionals. Some of these stars have hogged the national newspaper headlines at some stage in their careers, they’ve been so dominant that they’re the favourite when it comes to any online betting, and they’re popular and well-respected names within their particular sport. We obviously can’t cover them all, but below is a look at a selection of sports stars that you might not necessarily know are from Essex. 

Sally Gunnell

While younger fans might associate her with punditry and commentary, Sally Gunnell was, in fact, an excellent track and field athlete. Gunnell, born in Chigwell, is an Olympic gold medalist who also reigned supreme in many other notable competitions. As such, she went on to become the only female British athlete to have won Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth medals. What an achievement! 

Sam Byram

While Sam Byram doesn’t have the same reputation as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Thurrock-born right-back has enjoyed a solid career in the professional game of football so far. With his most successful period coming during a four year spell at Leeds United, a club he made 130 appearances for, he is now aiming to get back up into the Premier League once again with his current team, Norwich City. 

Alastair Cook

Former England cricket captain, Alastair Cook, was born and raised in Wickham Bishops near Witham. The likeable leader led England to a number of memorable victories during his time as captain and is widely regarded as being one of the more reliable chiefs England have had in recent times. Although he has left the international cricket scene, Cook is still playing for Essex County Cricket Club. 

Jimmy Greaves

Essex has indeed produced a World Cup winner. Although Jimmy Greaves didn’t get to play in the final because of a severe injury, he contributed a great deal to the Three Lions’ most famous victory in their history. A lethal goalscorer, Greaves is also adored at Tottenham Hotspur, a club he managed to score 220 goals in 321 games for. 

Fatima Whitbread

Growing up in South Ockendon, Grays and Chadwell St Mary, Fatima Whitbread went on to have a remarkable career and is widely regarded as one of the Olympians. With a number of memorable performances to her name and a generally likeable figure throughout her time as an athlete, Whitbread was a fierce competitor. Her career highlight was undoubtedly the moment when she won a gold medal at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, although she has won a number of events during an amazing career. 

Ronnie O’Sullivan


Widely regarded as being the greatest snooker player of all time, Ronnie O’Sullivan grew up in Chigwell. He still lives there today, too. A character of British sport, O’Sullivan has won it all, and when he does decide to retire from a sport he has given so much to, he will surely go down as the best player the game has ever seen.