Gordon Banks – Banksy : The Autobiography

Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks – Banksy : The Autobiography

Gordon Banks, OBE (born 30 December 1937) is a former England international football goalkeeper. He made 628 appearances during a 15-year career in the Football League and won 73 caps for his country. Regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, the IFFHS named Banks the second best goalkeeper of the 20th century – after Lev Yashin (1st) and ahead of Dino Zoff (3rd). He was named FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972 and was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions.

Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks

He joined Chesterfield in March 1953 and played for the youth team in the 1956 FA Youth Cup final. He made his first team debut in November 1958 and was sold to Leicester City for £7,000 in July 1959. He played in four cup finals for the club, as they were beaten in the 1961 and 1963 FA Cup finals, before winning the League Cup in 1964 and finishing as finalists in 1965. During this time, he established himself as England’s number one goalkeeper and played every game of the nation’s 1966 World Cup victory. Despite this success, he was dropped by Leicester and sold on to Stoke City for £50,000 in April 1967. He made one of the game’s great saves to prevent a Pelé goal in the 1970 World Cup but was absent due to illness as England were beaten by West Germany at the quarter-final stage.

He was Stoke’s goalkeeper in the 1972 League Cup win – the club’s only major honour. He was still Stoke and England’s number one when a car crash in October 1972 cost him both the sight in one eye and his professional career. He did though play in the United States for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1977 and 1978. He briefly entered management with Telford United but left the game after he was sacked in December 1980.

Gordon Banks 1966 World Cup

Banks entered the 1966 FIFA World Cup as England’s first choice goalkeeper, and his understudies Ron Springett and Peter Bonetti never took to the field during the tournament. England opened the tournament with a goalless draw against Uruguay, with Banks a virtual spectator as the highly defensive Uruguayans rarely ventured out of their own half. They then defeated Mexico 2–0, with Banks again rarely troubled throughout. A 2–0 win over France then took England through the group stage without Banks conceding a goal.

England beat Argentina 1–0 in the last eight, with Geoff Hurst scoring with a header; the match was sullied by the first-half sending off of Argentinian midfielder Antonio Rattín, who refused to leave the pitch after being dismissed for dissent. In contrast to the previous games, the semi-final against Portugal proved to be a fair contest between two sides of talented players eager to attack from the start of the match. Yet there was panic in the buildup to the game as trainer Harold Shepherdson forgot to buy chewing gum, which Banks used to make his hands stickier and better able to handle the ball, and so Shepherdson had to run to a nearby newsagents to purchase gum as the teams were in the tunnel. Bobby Charlton scored two goals, but Portugal made a strong finish and won a penalty on 82 minutes after Jack Charlton handled the ball in the penalty area. Eusébio converted the penalty after sending Banks the wrong way, and the game finished 2–1 in England’s favour. This was the first goal Banks had conceded for England in 721 minutes of regular play, since giving up Scotland’s last goal after 81 minutes of the Home International clash in April. This remains a record for an England goalkeeper.

England’s opponents in the final were West Germany. It was England who dominated the final but it was Banks who was beaten first. A weak header from Ray Wilson handed a chance to Helmut Haller, who sent an accurate but relatively weak shot into the corner of the net; Banks had been unsighted by Jack Charlton, and he failed to adjust his position in time to reach the ball. England equalised through a Geoff Hurst header within six minutes and went ahead late in the second half through Martin Peters. With seconds left in the game, Lothar Emmerich sent a free kick into the England penalty area, and the ball fell to Wolfgang Weber, who guided the ball over a lunging Ray Wilson and an outstretched Banks into the net to take the game into extra-time. In extra-time, the Germans sent shots in at the England goal which Banks managed to catch and control without any great danger. Hurst scored two goals to complete his hat-trick, and though many claimed his second goal never crossed the line Banks always maintained his belief that the officials called the decision correctly. Between these goals Banks had to deal with a fiery shot from Sigfried Held, and was later exposed only for Uwe Seeler to come just centimetres away from connecting with the ball.

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