Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce pays tribute to ‘giant’ of English football Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks. Photo: PA/PA Wire.
Gordon Banks. Photo: PA/PA Wire.

Wednesday manager Steve Bruce has paid tribute to Sheffield-born World Cup winner Gordon Banks after the former England goalkeeper passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81.

Bruce was one of a number of former players to honour the legendary shot-stopper following news of his death, with many hailing Tinsley-born Banks as England’s “greatest ever” goalkeeper.

The FA has announced that matches across the country will hold a minute long silence before kick off this week in Banks’ memory, as Wednesday observed the tribute in their game against Millwall at The Den on Tuesday night.

Speaking after the goalless draw in the capital, Owls chief Bruce said: "I remember the save in the 1970 World Cup. It was the great save.

"I had the privilege of meeting him a couple of times over the years. He was a wonderful icon of the English game. He was a giant.

"When you see some of the tributes that have been made to him, the great players have said he was easily the best in the world at the time. 

"Our condolences go out to his family. He was a great, humble man. He had a wonderful humility about him which will stay with a lot of people.”

Bruce was joined in his tribute to the 1966 World Cup winner by former Owls goalkeeper Kevin Pressman, who wrote on Twitter: “So sad to hear that Gordon Banks has passed away.

“A true legend and gentleman. He was my first Goalkeeper Coach when I was a school boy at @swfc when Jack Charlton was manager.

“I went into the training ground on my 6 weeks holidays to work with him. RIP.”

Banks started his career at Chesterfield, and went on to make 628 appearances during a 15-year career in the Football League, winning an additional 73 caps for his country.

The 1972 FWA Footballer of the Year was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the year six times and is remembered for his infamous save against Pele at the 1970 World Cup.

The former Sheffield Schoolboys player revealed he was suffering from kidney cancer in December 2015 and died peacefully in his sleep overnight.