‘You’re getting old, Banksy - you used to hold them!
’Folklore tells us these were the words the quick-witted Bobby Moore uttered after Gordon Banks made /that/ save in 1970.
Whether that is verbatim or not doesn’t matter as the save went on to be considered the finest ever seen.
Now isn’t the time or the place to consider whether this moment of goalkeeping athleticism was the finest display of the art of all-time - I mean, England still lost that match and to some that would diminish the ‘greatness’ of Banks’ stop, getting down to his right to somehow get the ball up and over the Mexican bar.
But neither should that moment be solely what is remembered about the late, great Gordon Banks.
He is still the only England goalkeeper to win a World Cup, four years before the Pele stop. Many forget that having Banks in goal was as important to Alf Ramsey as having Nobby Stiles in midfield, having Bobby Charlton charging forward and breaking the net or having Moore calmly managing the defence.
He was also part of a great Leicester City side, getting to two FA Cup finals in ’61 and ’63 before finally breaking his Wembley curse and winning the League Cup in ’64. He then went on to win that trophy again with Stoke City in ’72.
It was in the same year that a road accident cost Banks the sight in one eye meaning his career took a different path, moving to the never-forgotten NASL for Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Even with one working eye, he won the NASL Goalkeeper of the Year Award in 1977, though you’d suspect the FWA Footballer of Year Award picked up in ’72 would have meant more.
England’s finest goalkeeper ever? He’s the one with the medals to prove it.
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