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Gordon Banks , OBE (Sheffield, England, December 30, 1937) is a former British footballer who served as a goalkeeper in the 1960s. He is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the History of football.
He began his career at the modest Chesterfield Football Club at the age of 17 in 1955. In 1959, after fulfilling his military service, he joined the ranks of Leicester City, with which he began to acquire fame for sobriety, Reflections and tranquility that gave to all the behind.
His performances with Leicester saved this team many times from going down to the second division and they gave him the opportunity, in 1963, to make his international debut with the English team, in a match against Scotland.
The following years were excellent for Banks, who, without hesitation, was taken into account by Alf Ramsey to integrate the 22 in the English team for the 1966 World Cup.
As a starter Banks played all seven matches of the tournament, he received only three goals (one of them penal) and was part of the only English team world champion. He formed with Bobby Moore, Jack Charlton, George Cohen and Ray Wilson an insurmountable defense, which convinced everyone and that had three representatives in the ideal box at the end of the World Cup. In addition, at that time was disputed with Lev Yashin the title of the best goalkeeper in the world. Following his performance in the world championship, Banks was the subject of the phrase “as safe as the banks of England” in reference to his surname.
In 1967, after having lost three finals in Wembley with his team, he was transferred to Stoke City, the team with which he finally won a title, in the 1972 League Cup final (first trophy in history of the “Potters”). Between these five years, Gordon Banks continued being pillar in the goal of England and at the same time master of those who would be the British goalkeepers of the Seventies: Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence.
With Alf Ramsey’s squad he traveled to Mexico to defend the championship obtained in 1966, but they lost dramatically in the city of León against Germany in the quarterfinal round. Banks participated in the first three matches of England. However, in the match against the Germans the goalkeeper was not present, playing his substitute Peter Bonetti. It is said that hours before the game began he drank a beer, felt stomach pains and was not in a position to play. [Quote required] It should be noted that in the game his team played against Brazil, he called “Atalanta del Siglo “when he managed to stop a header from the legendary Brazilian player Pele.
Banks played a few more matches with the national team after the 1970 World Cup, but in 1972 he suffered a traffic accident in which he lost an eye. This incident marked the retirement of Gordon Banks although, years later and after an intense rehabilitation, he tried to return to the fields in the Professional Soccer League of the United States with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, but without much success. The retirement so premature made him dedicate to the technical direction of the selection sub-23 of England and like assistant of trainer in several modest clubs of the United Kingdom.
In total, he played 73 international matches, was awarded in 1970 by Queen Elizabeth II with the Order of the British Empire and for many years was named as the best goalkeeper in England.
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