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Banks

England

Full name: Gordan Banks
Date of birth: 30/12/1937
Position: Goalkeeper
International caps: 73
International clean sheets: 35
World Cups: 1966 - Champions
1970 - Quarter finals
Clubs: Chesterfield
Leicester City
Stoke City
Cleveland Stokers
St Patrick's Athletic
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
1955-1959
1959-1966
1966-1972
1967
1977
1977-1978

The best in a long line of English goalkeeping legends was, without doubt, Gordon Banks. Later known as 'Banks of England' for the vault-like security of his goal, he began to show his talent after a transfer to Leicester City for £7000 in 1959. In his second season with the club, they reached the final of the FA Cup only to lose to Spurs. A month prior to losing another FA Cup final in 1963, Banks found himself picked as the English number one for new coach Alf Ramsay: a position he made his own in the coming games. By 1965, Banks was the undisputed first choice for England and a year later found himself a world-wide name while part of the 1966 World Cup squad.

Gordon Banks for England

Banks had the competition of his life: playing in all six games, the only goal he let in before the showdown with West Germany was a Eusebio penalty in the semi-final (which actually ended his record run of seven consecutive clean sheets). On the 30 July, he became the only English keeper ever to lift the World Cup.

Only a year after this triumph, Banks found his club place under threat from a 18 year future star called Peter Shilton, and subsequently tranferred to Stoke City. A few months later, during the 1967 off-season, Stoke played as the Clevelend Stokers in a short-lived attempt to create an interest in soccer in the US.

Athletic save from Banks

Banks was an athletic goalkeeper who produced brilliant saves with the minimum of fuss. His anticipation and reading of the opposition, coupled with his quick feet, allowed him to make even a difficult save look routine. One example of this was his marvellous save in the 1970 World Cup group game against Brazil. From a Jairzinho cross, Pele headed the ball down into the bottom right corner, and it seemed like the South Americans had taken the lead. However, Banks managed to scramble across the goal and flick the ball over the bar with an outstretched hand. Tostao thought it was in - spending several seconds with his hands in the air; first in celebration and then in disbelief.

Despite his save, the great keeper could do little to prevent Jairzinho's hammering drive from six yards out and England lost 1-0. Suspected food poisoning ("Montezuma's Revenge") ruled him out of the quarter final, which England subsequently lost 3-2 to West Germany, having been 2-0 up.

In 1972 Banks retired from football following a car accident which left him blind in one eye. Just months earlier he had been voted England's Player of the Year and won the League Cup with Stoke City.

After a few years acting as a scout and non-league manager, he was lured out of retirement to become a named superstar for the US Major League Soccer outfit Fort Lauderdale Strikers, where he teamed up with George Best.

His record of international clean sheets speaks for itself - Gordon Banks was one of the greatest goalkeepers the world has ever seen.