Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, has died at the age of 81, his former club Stoke City said on Tuesday.
Banks won 73 caps for England between 1963 and 1972 and made nearly 200 appearances for Stoke before his playing career was brought to an end in a car crash that cost him his sight in one eye.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to have played the game, Banks will probably be best remembered for the diving stop he made to deny Brazil’s Pele at the 1970 World Cup, which later became known as the “save of the century”.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight,” Banks’ family said in a statement posted on Stoke’s official website.
“We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.”
Victory over Germany in Wembley
Stoke City’s Jack Butland and manager Nathan Jones as tributes are placed on a statue of Gordon Banks outside the stadium. (Reuters)
“After I headed the ball, I had already began to jump to celebrate the goal. Then I looked back and I couldn’t believe it hadn’t gone in. I have scored more than a thousand goals in my life, and the thing people always talk to me about is the one I didn’t score,” he said.
Banks recalled the moment modestly as a piece of good fortune.
“As soon as I got my hand to it, I thought it was going in the top corner,” he said.
“But after I’d landed on the hard floor, I looked up and saw the ball bounce behind the net and that’s when I said: Banksy, you lucky prat.”