Former Spireite Gordan Banks' denied Pele with Greatest Save Ever and inspired a little boy to become a Chesterfield keeper

The Greatest Save Ever immortalised a former Chesterfield goalkeeper and inspired a little boy to go on and become one.

Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 10:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 10:42 am
A pair of former Spireite stoppers - two-time promotion winner Chris Marples with England legend Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks, whose death has been met with a deluge of tributes from around the world, denied the legendary Pele with perhaps the finest stop of all time, in the 1970 World Cup.

Watching on from Chesterfield, where Banks began his professional career, was a young man called Chris Marples.

"First I knew of Gordon Banks was in the Mexico World Cup in 1970," he said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"Seeing the save he made from Pele was just unbelievable and at six years old I tried to replay that moment myself many times.

"That save inspired me to want to become a goalkeeper."

Marples did go on to play in goal, winning promotions in each of his two spells as a Spireite.

He grew up a big fan of England's number one.

"I believe if he hadn't missed the Germany game, we may have gone on to repeat the success of 66," he said.

"From then I always watched him with interest and went with my dad to watch him play numerous times."

The pair of ex Town custodians came face to face not long ago at the Proact and Marples relished the opportunity to talk goalkeeping with his boyhood hero.

"I was fortunate to meet the great man at Chesterfield FC this year, on my birthday, and it was a great treat to speak to him about how the game has changed over the years.

"We spoke about the current crop of English keepers and he said he felt (Jack) Butland was exceptional, at his beloved Stoke.

"He also said that he didn't think he would have played for England as much due to the physical size of modern day keepers - but to me, with his ability, he could have played and been the greatest of any generation."

Like many others who have paid tribute to Banks, as much for his character as his contribution to the sport, Marples speaks highly of the England great.

"He was a true gentleman who right up to his last years loved to talk football and goalkeepers.

"Rest in peace Mr Gordon Banks."