Gordon Banks: 1966 England World Cup Winner Dies Aged 81

Former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81, it has been announced.

The footballing legend famously played every game of the 1966 World Cup which saw England lift the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley, after beating Germany 4-2 in extra time.

In a career of incredible highs, one of his most iconic moments was his acrobatic save from a Pele header at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico, which has gone down in history as one of the greatest moments in football.

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

Banks, who famously only had one eye, played most of his career for Leicester City and Stoke City, as well as spells with Cleveland Stokers, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and St Patrick's Athletic.

During his international career, he won 73 caps and played in two World Cups, and between 1966 and 1971 he was named Fifa's Goalkeeper Of The Year for six consecutive years.

The news of his death was announced in a statement from his family on Twitter.

They said: "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."

Since the tragic news was announced, tributes have been flooding in from the sporting world.

A spokesperson for Chesterfield FC, where Banks began his career in the 1950s, said: "The sad news reaches us that legendary former Spireite Gordon Banks has passed away.

"Gordon, who started his career at Chesterfield, was of course part of England's 1966 World Cup-winning team. Our thoughts are with Gordon's family and friends."

Former England and Leicester striker, Gary Lineker wrote on social media: "<span class="rn-13yce4e rn-fnigne rn-ndvcnb rn-gxnn5r rn-deolkf rn-homxoj rn-1471scf rn-14xgk7a rn-7cikom rn-o11vmf rn-ebii48 rn-gul640 rn-ad9z0x rn-1mnahxq rn-61z16t rn-p1pxzi rn-11wrixw rn-bcqeeo rn-wk8lta rn-9aemit rn-1mdbw0j rn-gy4na3 rn-bauka4 rn-irrty rn-qvutc0" ">Oh no. Gordon Banks<span class="rn-13yce4e rn-fnigne rn-ndvcnb rn-gxnn5r rn-deolkf rn-homxoj rn-1471scf rn-14xgk7a rn-7cikom rn-o11vmf rn-ebii48 rn-gul640 rn-ad9z0x rn-1mnahxq rn-61z16t rn-p1pxzi rn-11wrixw rn-bcqeeo rn-wk8lta rn-9aemit rn-1mdbw0j rn-gy4na3 rn-bauka4 rn-irrty rn-qvutc0" ">, an absolute hero of mine, and countless others, has died. @England<span class="rn-13yce4e rn-fnigne rn-ndvcnb rn-gxnn5r rn-deolkf rn-homxoj rn-1471scf rn-14xgk7a rn-7cikom rn-o11vmf rn-ebii48 rn-gul640 rn-ad9z0x rn-1mnahxq rn-61z16t rn-p1pxzi rn-11wrixw rn-bcqeeo rn-wk8lta rn-9aemit rn-1mdbw0j rn-gy4na3 rn-bauka4 rn-irrty rn-qvutc0" ">'s World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man. #RIPGordon."

Manchester City and England midfielder, Raheem Sterling said: "Of course there was THAT save, but its so much more we are mourning today. RIP Gordon Banks<span class="rn-13yce4e rn-fnigne rn-ndvcnb rn-gxnn5r rn-deolkf rn-homxoj rn-1471scf rn-14xgk7a rn-7cikom rn-o11vmf rn-ebii48 rn-gul640 rn-ad9z0x rn-1mnahxq rn-61z16t rn-p1pxzi rn-11wrixw rn-bcqeeo rn-wk8lta rn-9aemit rn-1mdbw0j rn-gy4na3 rn-bauka4 rn-irrty rn-qvutc0" ">. @England legend, your legacy will live on. All my thoughts with the family."

A spokesperson for Leicester City, for whom Banks played 293 times during his eight-year spell with the club, wrote: Leicester City Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of our former goalkeeper Gordon Banks OBE, who has passed away at the age of 81.

England's official Twitter account wrote: We're deeply saddened to hear that Gordon Banks, our #WorldCup-winning goalkeeper, has passed away. Our thoughts are with Gordon's friends, family and supporters at this difficult time.

Rest in peace.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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