England World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies, aged 81

Gordon Banks is regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers to ever have played the game. Credit PA

England World Cup Winner Gordon Banks Has Died

Gordon Banks, who has died aged 81, won the World Cup with England in 1966, and in his heyday was acknowledged to be the finest goalkeeper in the world.

Commonly regarded as one of, if not, the best in his position, Banks was named as Federation Internationale de Football Association goalkeeper of the year six times.

Banks was perhaps the only player in that victorious England side who was actually better known for something he did in the World Cup four years later, in Mexico, where he made what is commonly described as "the greatest save ever seen", one that demonstrated to the full his agility, strength and reflexes.

His death was confirmed by his former club Stoke City which tweeted a statement from his family.

It read: "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'. My thoughts are with his family and friends. "Even though I was on the pitch I still don't know how he saved that header from Pele".

Gordon Banks at Chesterfield FC's former Saltergate stadium.

After appearing 293 times for Leicester, the six-time FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year joined Stoke in 1967 and stayed at the club until 1973.

Banks was between the sticks during England's most famous footballing hour when the 1966 squad clinched their first and only World Cup title.

His professional career ended later that year when he lost sight in his right eye after a auto crash, though he did go on to play briefly in the United States before a one-year stint managing Telford United in 1979. One of the very greatest.

While fans were also taking to social media to pay tribute to the England legend.

Former Leicester and Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright added: 'A true legend in every sense of the word, a gentleman and outstanding goalkeeper, RIP our 1966 World Cup winning goalie.

Manchester City and England midfielder, Raheem Sterling said: "Of course there was THAT save, but its so much more we are mourning today. All my thoughts with the family".

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