England’s World Cup-winning super stopper snatched from the crowd and made history books
Gordon Banks OBE has reached great heights but came from humble beginnings.
After leaving school at the age of 15, he started working as a bagger for a local coal merchant in Sheffield.
His chance came to make his mark when he was spotted in a crowd of spectators by a coach of the Millspaugh team after their goalkeeper failed to show up for the game.
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He had seen Banks play for the Sheffield Schoolboys, so the stage was set.
Banks was spotted by Chesterfield while playing for Millspaugh and offered a six-game tryout on the youth team in March 1953.
He impressed enough in these games to be offered a Â£ 3 a week part-time contract by manager Teddy Davidson in July 1953.
Six years later, in 1959, he was bought for Â£ 7,000 by Leicester City’s Matt Gillies with his weekly salary as a reserve keeper amounting to Â£ 15.
Banks entered the World Cup as England’s premier goalkeeper and his liners Ron Springett and Peter Bonetti were never on the pitch during the tournament.
England opened the tournament with a goalless draw against Uruguay with Banks being a virtual spectator, with the highly defensive Uruguayans rarely venturing out of their own half.
They went on to beat 2-0, with Banks again rarely being troubled. A 2-0 victory over France then saw England through the group stage without Banks conceding a goal.
The rest, as they say, is history as the team beat Germany to win the competition.
In October 1972 he was involved in a car accident near his home in Madeley Heath. Fragments of glass had punctured his right eye and damaged the retina requiring 100 micro stitches to the eye and 200 more to his face.
He lost vision in his right eye and so his professional career in the Nets ended despite playing two seasons in America and in 1977 and 78 for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The Leicester City and England number one died on February 12, 2019 at the age of 81.