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A Tribute To The Goalkeeper’s Goalkeeper -Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks OBE was an excellent performer on the field of play during his playing days as a professional footballer. He was a pride to the English people whenever he is wearing the national colors of England. He made a huge difference as a professional goalkeeper; created records which have been difficult to rival even till today.

Early Days

Gordon was born on the 30 December 1937 in Abbeydale, Sheffield, England. He was brought up in the working-class area of Tinsley.  At the age of 15 in December 1952, he left school to take employment as a bagger with a local coal merchant. This employment was the turning point in his life because it helped in building his upper body strength; this was what he needed to get an additional boost to his interest in football which started with Sheffield Schoolboys in his days in school.

Football Career

His illustrious football career cuts across a 20-year period during which he made a total of 679 appearances. He won 79 caps in the colors of England. He was regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all times. As far as the 20th century is concerned; Banks was regarded as the second-best goalkeeper of all times coming after Lev Yashin. He had a vision in only one eye, but despite the odds against him, he maintained his top position and rubbed shoulders with the best on the field of play.

The Odds Against Him

He was involved in an unfortunate car crash in 1972 which cost him his vision in the right eye. Despite this setback; he fought the battle on the field of play for five more years with splendid performances on the field of play before he finally called it quits with the game in the year 1977. He put the smiles on the faces of millions of his fans all over the world as a top-rated goalkeeper.

Club Career

He began his club career with Chesterfield in the year 1958 and spent only a year at the club with 23 appearances as a goalkeeper. His last club appearance was with St Patrick's Athletic in a loan agreement in the year 1977. He won the League Cup in 1964 as Leicester City’s safest pair of hands. Stoke City's only major honor was their league cup win of 1972 and Banks was in goal for them.

National Team Career

He began his international career with the under 23 team in 1961 with matches against Wales and Scotland. He was in goal for England as the first-choice goalkeeper in the world cup final win of 1966. He kept the goal all through the matches played by England in that competition. He will never be forgotten for his magical save in the 1970 world cup finals. The legendary Pele of Brazil was already shouting goal off his powerful header when from nowhere and with no chance at all; Banks appeared to parry the ball over the bar. Pele still made reference to that save in his tribute after 49 years to this icon in the round leather game.

He was not able to make the cut-off as a manager, but he would be remembered for his exploits as a great goalkeeper who would be remembered by the generations to come. As he bade this world goodbye on 12 February 2019; he has left his footprints in the sands of time. Adieu, beloved goalkeeper. Adieu FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972, FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions. Goodnight Banks.

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