‘It is a sad day for Sheffield and for football’ – Sheffielders pay tribute to World Cup hero Gordon Banks following his death

Tributes have poured in for Sheffield football legend Gordon Banks following his death aged 81.

Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 10:12 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 10:21 am

Gordon Banks OBE, who had been diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015, passed away overnight with his family at his bedside following a deterioration in his health in recent weeks.

Born in Tinsley, he later moved to Catcliffe and began his career with Sheffield Schoolboys before moving to Chesterfield in March 1953.

Sheffield World Cup legend Gordon Banks who passed away aged 81

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He was regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, receiving his crowning role in England’s historic World Cup triumph in 1966.

Four years later his worldwide fame rocketed again thanks to his so-called `save of the century’ to deny Pele and Brazil in the 1970 finals.

However, in 1972 his career was ended when a car crash meant he lost sight in one eye. 

(L-R) John Green and 1966 World Cup legends Gordon Banks and Geoff Hurst

Following the news of his death, those who knew the footballing legend paid tribute.

John Green of Hallamshire sporting club, who first met Banks in 1996, said :”It is a sad day for Sheffield and for football that one of the boys of ‘66 who brought the world cup to England has died, but he will never be forgotten.

“Gordon never lost his love for Sheffield. At every opportunity over the years he made his way back to Sheffield and would always tell the story of how he was spotted on Tinsley Rec as a teenager.”

John also recalled the time when Banks was presented the Derek Dooley Lifetime Achievement Award at the Star and Green ‘Un Football Awards in 2012, thankful for the people of South Yorkshire that voted for him and an honour that he treasured.

Banks’ nephew, Pulp drummer Nick Banks, posted a video on Twitter of the legendary save against Pele in 1970.

He said: “A sad day. My beloved Uncle Gordon has passed away. Let’s all savour the best save ever made: Greatest Ever Goalkeeper Save - Gordon Banks Saves from Pele.”

Former sports minister Richard Caborn, who met Banks in the 1970s, said: “He was a really nice person to have the pleasure of knowing. He always wanted to attend sports function and loved not just football but sport in general.

“It is a sad day now that he is no longer with us, but he leaves some fantastic memories.

“He was a Sheffield lad and is one of Sheffield’s greatest sporting starts and is undisputedly the greatest English goalkeeper of all time. 

“He was recognised six times as Fifa’s goalkeeper of the year, and will always be remembered for that legendary save in 1970 against Pele.”

Posting on Twitter, Sheffield footballer Harry Maguire, said: “A World Cup winner, a legend. RIP Gordon Banks.”