English football legend and goalkeeper of the victorious 1966 England World Cup side, Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81.
The former Stoke, Leicester and Chesterfield goalkeeper who played 73 times for England was regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in the Three Lions’ history.
According to a statement issued by Stoke City on behalf of the Banks family,
“From the family of Gordon Banks.”
“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.
Banks started his professional football career with Chesterfield in the old third division, but after just one season secured a move to Leicester City where he made 356 appearances over eight seasons between 1959 and 1967.
Banks won the 1964 League Cup with Leicester, and earned international recognition in 1963 with his first England call-up by England manager Sir Alf Ramsey who promoted Banks to his first-choice goalkeeper.
Banks was named Fifa Goalkeeper of the year for five consecutive years between 1966 and 1971, and was voted the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year in 1972.
After the 1966 World Cup, Banks moved to Stoke City where he went on to become a club icon, making 250 appearances in seven years until his departure for the United States in 1973. Banks won the League Cup for a second time in 1972, with a First Division-high finish of ninth in 1969/70.
In 1970 Banks went into the World Cup and pulled off one of the greatest saves ever seen in international football, during the group match against Brazil where he denied a Pele header that looked destined for the net.
Banks finished his career in the United States, playing for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1977 and again in 1978, and made a solitary appearance for St Patrick’s Athletic before retiring later that year.
Banks was briefly the manager of Telford United, but after temporarily relinquishing his role to undergo surgery, he was sacked upon his return and that sort of put a dent in his coaching future.
In 2015 Banks was given treatment for kidney cancer. He passed away to the great beyond overnight on Monday.
Banks is survived by his wife Ursula, two daughters Wendy and Julia and son Robert.