A survey conducted by menswear retailer Walker Slater, who specialise in Tweed Waistcoats, has revealed that Jonny Wilkinson’s last-minute drop goal against Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup is Britain’s favourite historic moment in sport.
The kick that secured the English their first and, to this day, only Webb Ellis Cup was deemed the most popular rugby moment among sporting fans, taking almost half the votes.
Alongside half of the rugby votes, the drop goal took more than 10 per cent of the overall votes. It fought off tough opposition from Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win in 2013, Serena Williams’ Australian grand slam victory while pregnant, and England’s World Cup cricket victory in 2019, to the overall award.
The survey asked respondents to detail what they believed to be the most iconic sporting moments.
Let’s take a look at the most popular by region.
Midlands and South West
Sergio Aguero’s emphatic last-minute winner against QPR in 2012 that poached the Premier League title from rivals Manchester United was voted the most popular footballing moment in the Midlands and South West, bagging 66 per cent of the votes.
This part of the country must love some late drama, as Johnny Wilkinson’s drop goal lay claim to 100 per cent of the rugby votes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Northern Ireland’s victory against Greece that secured their qualification to Euro 2016 came out on top. This was swiftly followed by Jonny Sexton’s infamous drop goal against the French in Paris.
When Andy Murray beat World Number One Novak Djokovic in 2013, he became the first British Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry – an incredible feat. Murray’s victory secured him 70 per cent of the available Scottish votes for tennis. An honourable mention must go to the late Seve Ballesteros, who picked up a tenth of the golf votes for his St Andrews win in 1984.
London and South East
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the capital and the surrounding areas would have voted quite patriotically and picked an English sports star in their favoured sporting moment – you’d be wrong, however.
Serena Williams’ Aussie Grand Slam win was the most popular choice in this region, having pipped Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters triumph to the top spot with 8 per cent of the total votes.
The footy mad region that is the North East is home to some of the biggest football clubs in the UK and undoubtedly one of the biggest rivalries – Newcastle and Sunderland.
For this reason, you’d expect the notorious 5-1 to Newcastle in 2010 or the 3-0 to Sunderland in 2013 to come out on top in terms of football. In fact, it’s Argentinian Sergio Aguero’s last-minute winner that’s the most popular choice in this region.
When it comes to the overall vote, North East residents share a particularly similar view to that of standard British opinion – Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal taking the number one spot. One wouldn’t be criticised, however, for suggesting this result was thanks to Jonny’s 12-year career with Newcastle Falcons.
When it comes to the North West, opinion was very much divided, although two things they can appear to agree on is Jonny Wilkinson’s impeccable performance at the 2003 World Cup and the entertainment factor that Wimbledon brings.
The spoils were shared for tennis, between the enthralling encounter that took place between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut back in 2010 – the longest tennis match in history – and Tim Henman’s journey to the quarter-final back in 2004.
Regardless of discipline, it’s fair to suggest we Brits love sport, and this survey has been able to detail just a few of the moments we hold in the highest regard!