Gordon Banks, England’s goalkeeper when they won the 1966 World Cup, has died aged 81, his former club Stoke City announced on Tuesday.
Banks, who played in every game of the 1966 campaign on home soil, is probably best known for a wonder save he produced to deny Brazilian great Pele in the 1970 World Cup. He subsequently missed England’s quarter-final exit to West Germany through illness.
His family said Banks, who lost an eye in a car crash in 1972, had passed away in his sleep.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight,” his family said.
“We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.”
He was considered to be one of the best all-time keepers in world football, in the league of Lev Yashin, Dino Zoff, Oliver Kahn and Gianluigi Buffon.
Banks started his career at Chesterfield, after which he moved to Leicester City. He spent eight years with the Foxes, appearing in four finals. He lost both the FA Cup finals in 1961 and 1963, before finally winning the League Cup in 1964 but lost the 1965 final.
As a 29-year-old, Banks moved to Stoke City after falling out of favour at Leicester. Banks won Stoke’s only major honour, the 1972 League Cup before a car crash cost him an eye and a professional career at a time when he was still England’s number one keeper.
(With inputs from AFP)