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Gordon Banks OBE

Banks playing for England
Born :
30th December 1937 ( Sheffield )
Clubs / Teams:
Sheffield Boys
Millspaugh Steelworks
Rawmarsh Welfare
Millspaugh Steelworks
Leicester City
Stoke City
Fort Lauderdale Strikers



1956 F.A. Youth Cup Runners Up ( Chesterfield )
1961 F.A. Cup Runners - Up ( Leicester City)
1963 England debut 6th April 1963 v Scotland
1963 F.A. Cup Runners - Up ( Leicester City)
1964 League Cup Winners ( Leicester City)
1965 League Cup Runners - Up ( Leicester City)
1966 World Cup Winners (England)
1970 Awarded the OBE ( Order of the British Empire )
1972 League Cup Winners ( Stoke City)
1972 Football Writers Association Player of the Year
1972 Daily Express Sportsman of the Year
1972 The subject of ' This is Your Life ' television programme
1977 NASL goalkeeper of the Year
2002 Included in the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame
2006 Awarded Honorary degree from Keele University  


International Record

Appearances   73
Goals conceded   57
Clean sheets   35
Caps gained with Leicester   37
Caps gained  with Stoke   36
Under- 23 Caps   2

Club Record

Chesterfield League 23
Leicester City League 293
Stoke City  League 194
  F.A. Cup 27
  League Cup 19
  Others 6

 Last appearance  : v Liverpool at Anfield October 21st 1972

Tragically involved in a serious road accident October 22nd 1972 , resulting in the loss of sight in his right eye.

Banks, was born in Sheffield 1937 and grew to become not only England's World Cup winning keeper in 1966, but was acknowledged and later officially crowned as the World's Best Goalkeeper in the 1970 World Cup Tournament in Mexico.

Yet the story could have been so much different. Although Banks had played for both his school team, Tinsley County Secondary Modern  and Sheffield boys in goal, through his own admission he'd not given serious thought to becoming a professional goalkeeper.

On leaving school he became a coalman's mate, bagging and delivering coal for a living, though found the work physically exhausting and later became an apprentice bricklayer.

Bank's return to football and the first steps to glory was indeed pure chance, having gone to watch a local team Millspaugh play, he was asked to play when the Millspaugh keeper failed to appear. Having joined up with Millspaugh, less than a year later Banks was signed by Romarsh, who played in a much higher standard league. And there once again the story might have ended.

In his first match Romarsh lost 12-2, to be quickly followed by a 3-1 defeat. Two appearances and two defeats, Romarsh sent him packing. Rebuffed and his pride hurt  Banks returned to play for his former club Millspaugh, where eventually his ability was spotted by a scout from Chesterfield of the then Third Division North.

Banks, signed part-time pro forms for Chesterfield in 1955 for the princely wage of 2 a match. The following year,1956 with the help of Banks, Chesterfield reached the FA Youth Cup Final, which at the time was a very prestigious tournament. In front of a crowd of 32,000 at Old Trafford, Chesterfield eventually lost out to the Manchester United team including Bobby Charlton that was to develop into the Busby Babes.

His career was then put on hold for two years whilst he served his national service in the  Royal Signals based in Germany, where he met his wife Ursula. On completion of his service Banks returned to rejoin Chesterfield on 17 a week and played 23 league games times for the Spireites.

Banks though was beginning to attract the attention of several league clubs and joined Leicester City for 7,000 in May 1959.In his second season at the club he helped Leicester reach the FA Cup final, but lost to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, as Spurs went on to complete the league and Cup double.

There was further disappointment for Banks and Leicester in 1963,when again Leicester reached the FA Cup final, this time to lose out to Manchester United. But the first taste of club success was just around the corner, as the following year Leicester lifted the League Cup ironically by beating Stoke over two games.

Banks savesBy this time, Banks was established in the England team, having made his international debut under Alf Ramsey ( later to become Sir Alf ) at Wembley on the 6th April 1963 against the old enemy, Scotland.

The game against the Scots was Ramsey's 2nd game in charge and the first to played at Wembley since the construction of a new 500,000 roof that swept around the ground. Having lost the previous game heavily 5-2 to France in Paris, Ramsey chose Banks ahead of Ron Springett in the England goal. However, two goals by Jim Baxter for Scotland, one a penalty helped ensure it was Scotland who trooped off happy with a 2-1 victory not Banks and his England colleagues.  

Indeed following a 1-1 draw with Brazil in his second game Banks had to wait for his third cap against Czechoslovakia, a 4-2 victory, before he was to appear in a winning England side

A record of  1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat with 5 goals conceded in his first 3 internationals was a fair start to an international career that was to eventually read :

  P W D L F A Clean Sheet
Full Internationals @ Wembley 31 21 7 3 71 27 14
Full International Overseas 28 19 4 5 53 19 14
Home Championships (away) 13 9 3 1 27 10 7
Game played @ Goodison Park. 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
Total 73 49 15 9 152 57 35

Although Banks played in many important games amongst those 73 appearances, with  none more so than the 1966 World Cup Final victory ,against West Germany at Wembley, Banks himself picks out the semi-final against Portugal as his No.1 classic game. England had reached the semi final stage without Banks having conceded a goal final. In his autobiography ' Banks of England' he wrote " The football played at Wembley that evening has never in my experience been surpassed."          

Following the  4-2 victory against the Germans in the final, Banks returned to his club side Leicester and on to the next stage of his career as within 10 months of that World Cup victory the ' Greatest keeper in the World ' was put on the transfer list to make way for a raising star Peter Shilton .

Clubs lined up keen on signing Banks, including West Ham who'd been given first option to buy him sign him, but their manager Ron Greenwood had already started negotiations to sign Bobby Ferguson from Kilmarnock for 65,000 a then world record fee for a goalkeeper, Liverpool's Bill Shankly was also very interested ,though the size of the fee appears to have been the stumbling block with the Liverpool board. It was Stoke City's Tony Waddington, famous for his eye for a bargain and judgment in the transfer market that moved decisively to sign Banks whilst others dithered. 

Banks signed for Stoke in April 1967 for 52,000  - at the time the value of a goal keeper to a team was just beginning to be recognised and transfer fees just starting to spiral, but it was still a ludicrously low fee for the greatest keeper in the world and a magnificent testament to Tony Waddington and the Stoke Board of the day who backed his judgement.

Bank's first international game as a Stoke player came in the 3-0 demolition of Wales in Cardiff, though with the scores at 0-0 banks made a save from his Stoke team mate Roy Vernon, that he rates amongst the best of his career. Vernon connected with a deflected ball just seven yards out, a certain goal or so it seemed, but Banks somehow managed to fist the ball away.

Bank's fiftieth cap came in the 4-1 victory against the Old enemy Scotland at Wembley in May 1969,though sadly whilst away preparing for his next cap against Mexico in England's South American tour, he learnt of his father's death and returned to England for the funeral, though later rejoined the tour.

In 1970 England with Banks firmly established in goal headed off to Mexico to defend their world crown. England won their opening game against Romania 1-0.In the second group game they played Brazil in a match rightly labelled a classic, remembered for the contest between Moore and Pele - and for a save by Banks that has rightly been hailed as the greatest ever save.

Banks had gone into the game knowing he'd been honoured by Buckingham Palace with the awarding of the OBE and produced a stunning performance. The greatest save...shown so many times on television and even depicted on clothing started when the Brazilian winger Jairzinho put over a dipping cross from Bank's left to the far post to the incoming Pele who like a salmon rose to power the ball downwards low into the bottom right hand corner of the goal for a certain goal, at the same time Banks had moved quickly with amazing speed and agility from his left hand post and dived fall length, as the ball zipped through the thin Mexican air and bounced immediately in front of Banks, as the greatest player the world has ever known, Pele shouted goal, Banks with a half twist of his body, flicked the ball one handed with his right outstretched right hand over the cross bar.

The Brazilian ace was later to tell everyone that it was the greatest save he'd ever seen.

That it was made in the World Cup finals, against the famous 1970 pure football playing and soon to to crowned World Champions Brazil, from Pele, in the rarefied Mexican air, where the ball notoriously travels much quicker and is therefore much more difficult for goalkeepers to judge and reach are just a few of the reasons that make it the greatest save ever, but it should also be remembered the amount of ground Banks had to cover to make the save, if you're ever in doubt of the quality of the save play at normal speed ,then slow motion ,then normal speed again and then finally freeze the frame at the moment Banks comes into contact with the Ball and you'll have no doubts of the quality and pedigree of the save.

England actually lost the game, but the save and Moore's contest with Pele rightly out shine the result especially as England qualified for the next stage by beating Czechoslovakia 1-0.In the next round England famously went out to old rivals West Germany 3-2 after leading  by two goals to nil, with Peter Bonetti playing in goal for England after Banks had been taken ill.

Banks v Chelsea League Cup Final 72In 1972 success again arrived for Banks, this time at club level when he helped Stoke to victory in the League Cup at Wembley, Banks having saved a penalty from Geoff Hurst in the last minute of the semi final second leg against West Ham. Indeed Stoke also went on to reach the semi final of the F.A Cup that year to as they had done the previous season , losing out to Arsenal on both occasions.

The 72 season culminated in Banks being voted ' Footballer of the Year ' - the first keeper to receive the honour since his Bert Trautman had won it in 1956.And had been the subject of television's ' This is your life Programme' , Banks and indeed Stoke seemed set for further glory.

Within seven months of that Wembley victory Bank's career lay in ruins - On Sunday 22nd October Banks was returning home from the Victoria ground having received treatment after the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool the previous day when he was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in him losing the sight in his right eye. Such was his standing that television programmes were interrupted to bring news of the crash.

Banks battled to regain full fitness including games in America with Fort Lauderdale , but sadly it was to be in vain and Banks never played for Stoke in a competitive game again.

He'd played 510 league games,194 of them for Stoke and had won 36 international caps whilst at Stoke, just one fewer than when at Leicester.

Banks has since been made president of Stoke City, a fitting honour for the clubs and indeed the worlds greatest keeper.

In February 2006 it was announced Gordon was to receive an Honorary Degree from Keele University on February 17 for his outstanding contribution to sport and Charity raising funds for Children's Wards at local hospitals 

Video  of Gordon receiving his degree, includes the footage of the 1970 World Cup save from Pele (from )