5 of Gordon Banks' Greatest Moments in Football


A year has passed since the football world mourned the departure of one of the game's greatest ever servants: ​Gordon Banks. 

A gentleman on and off the field, Banks will forever be remembered as one of the most talented goalkeepers that football has ever produced. He was best known for his spells at Leicester City and Stoke City, and his deep connection to the Potteries led him to becoming the club's President, where he remained until his death. 

There is no doubt that the great man's best moment in football was lifting the World Cup at Wembley in 1966, but he enjoyed a long career with many incredible highs.

90min takes a look back at some of the peaks of Banks' illustrious career, on the day we celebrate the life of a true sporting legend. 

World Cup Winner

Let's start with the obvious, shall we? With the weight and expectation of an entire nation resting on the shoulders of the England 1966 World Cup side, the tournament's hosts certainly had to deliver. And deliver they did. 

Banks was the goalkeeper in this historic team, which celebrated the Three Lions' first ever major competition success, beating West Germany 4-2 in the World Cup final. The brilliant shot-stopper kept clean sheets against Uruguay, Mexico, France and Argentina in the run to the final, and also beat Eusebio's Portugal in the semi-final. 

It is a historic achievement, and Sir Alf Ramsey's men remain the only England side to lift the coveted trophy. 

​That Save 

One of the most iconic moments in football history. The greatest goalkeeper in the world against the second greatest player that has ever lived. A save which started a friendship. The year is 1970, and reigning champions England are up against an incomparable Brazil side, boasting the likes of Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto and, of course, the great Pelé. 

It was a game that Brazil would go on to win, but it is only remembered for one moment. A cross comes in from the right flank. The ball arrives to the left of the penalty spot, where Pelé is waiting to thunder a header down towards the bottom right-hand corner of the net. 

Banks, stranded on the left side of the goal, looks beaten. But the agile goalkeeper flies to his right, and somehow flicks the ball over the crossbar with a huge paw from an impossible angle.

Words will never do justice to the greatest save of all time.

League Cup Success

​Stoke City have won only one major trophy in all their years (no lads, the Autoglass trophy doesn't count) and once again, Banks was at the heart of it all. The big goalkeeper wrote his name into the club's history books, helping the Potters lift the 1972 League Cup trophy, following a 2-1 victory over ​Chelsea

It remains the only silverware in the club's cabinet, and it is without doubt the proudest moment in Stoke's history. A real legacy. Banks was also voted the Football Writer's Association 'Footballer of the Year' in 1972, having won FIFA's 'Goalkeeper of the Year' award for the previous five seasons. Records galore. 

Semi-Final Redemption 

As we all now know, Stoke won the League Cup in 1972 - but the Potters would still be searching for their first major trophy had it not been for Banks' heroics in the semi-final. Stoke faced ​West Ham in that contest, and with the scores level on aggregate in the second leg, Banks conceded a penalty in the dying minutes. Stoke's hopes of silverware vanished. 

Geoff Hurst sprinted towards the ball and blasted a penalty with a ferocious venom to the goalkeeper's right side, but Banks somehow got a hand to it and parried it over the crossbar. One of the greatest penalty saves ever seen.

Winning Goalkeeper of the Year With Impaired Vision 

Now this is one hell of an achievement. Banks' career at the top of football was cruelly cut short only months after Stoke's League Cup success in 1972, when he was involved in a car crash and lost his sight in his right eye. The World Cup winner retired from the sport professionally, but in 1977, he joined Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the North American Soccer League. 

Despite having vision in only one eye, Banks won the 'Goalkeeper of the Year' award, conceding 29 goals in 26 games, as the Strikers won the league title. A brilliant, brilliant man.