Gordon Banks was born on December 30, 1937, in Sheffield, England. Growing up in a working-class family, Banks developed a passion for soccer at a young age. He played for local youth teams before being spotted by a scout from Chesterfield F.C., who offered him a contract at the age of 15.

Despite his talent, Banks had to overcome numerous challenges throughout his early career. At the age of 18, he was involved in a serious car accident that left him with a fractured skull and a long road to recovery. However, after a year of rehabilitation, Banks was back on the pitch, showcasing his exceptional goalkeeping skills.

In 1958, Banks joined Leicester City, where he quickly established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in English football. His agility, shot-stopping ability, and incredible reflexes earned him praise and recognition from fans and professionals alike.

Banks received his first call-up to the English national team in 1963, and he made his debut against Scotland. He went on to earn a total of 73 caps for England, representing his country in three World Cup tournaments (1966, 1970, and 1974). Banks’ most memorable moment on the international stage came during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico when he made a remarkable save against Brazilian legend Pelé.

In club football, Banks achieved great success with Stoke City, who signed him in 1967 for a then-record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. He helped Stoke City to win the Football League Cup in 1972, the club’s first major trophy. Banks played for Stoke City until 1973 when an eye injury prematurely ended his playing career.

After retirement, Banks stayed connected to football through various roles. He became a goalkeeping coach and worked with several clubs, including Telford United, Port Vale, and Stoke City. Banks also undertook ambassadorial roles for soccer-related organizations and advocated for improved treatment and support for former players.

Banks received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year six times, achieved the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 1972, and was included in the FIFA 100 list of the greatest living players selected by Pelé.

Outside of football, Banks was known for his humility and sportsmanship. He once said, “The goalkeeper is the loneliest man on the pitch, but he’s still a part of the team.” This philosophy resonated with fans and players alike and solidified his status as a respected figure within the sport.

Gordon Banks left an indelible mark on the world of football and is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport. He passed away on February 12, 2019, but his legacy lives on through the countless memories and stories shared by fans, players, and commentators.

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