England World Cup-Winner & Goalkeeping Idol Gordon Banks Dies at 81

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England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81.

Banks made 73 international appearances and lifted the 1966 World Cup in England’s 4-2 win over West Germany.

He played just under 300 times for Leicester City before moving to Stoke in 1967, where he made 194 appearances in six years at the club.

The news was revealed in a statement from the Banks family on Stoke City’s website. It read: “It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight. We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.

“We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this time.”

Leicester, for whom Banks played for much of the 1960s, tweeted: “Leicester City Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of our former goalkeeper Gordon Banks OBE, who has passed away at the age of 81.”

With Stoke, Banks twice reached the FA Cup semi-final and won the League Cup title in 1972. He later became president of the football club in 2000, following the death of his predecessor in that role, Sir Stanley Matthews.

Save of the Century

The one moment that really rocketed Banks to superstardom came in the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico.

England were playing Brazil and in the first half Jairzinho crossed for Pele to power his header into the ground for what seemed a certain goal.

But somehow, Banks acrobatically reached the ball as it threatened to fizz into the roof of his net and brilliantly turned the ball over his own cross bar.

It was dubbed the Save Of The Century and few could disagree.

Abrupt End of Career & Life after Football

Banks was driving home from the Victoria Ground one Sunday in late 1972, having been in for treatment, when he suffered a car crash.

Surgeons battled hard but failed to save the sight in one eye.

Banks attempted a comeback and played in the United States, but he himself admitted he was never the same goalkeeper and so his career was over with 73 England caps to his name.

He tried management with Telford United and also became involved in various business ventures.

For many years he was one of three former footballers sitting on the pools panel to decide results in the event of postponements.

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He became president of Stoke City in 2000 following the death of his predecessor in that role, Sir Stanley Matthews.

His iconic status is now immortalised in bronze thanks to a statue depicting him holding aloft the World Cup and situated, since 2015, outside the bet365 Stadium.


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