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Former Saints Goalkeeper Gordon Banks has Died


Former Saints Goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died, aged 81

The former England, Stoke City, Leicester City and Saint Patrick’s Athletic goalkeeper has passed away aged 81. His family confirmed the news saying that “it is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight”.

He enjoyed a hugely successful career at both club and international level but possibly one the most interesting games of his career was when he graced the Richmond Park pitch one night in 1977. After losing sight in his right eye in a car crash, Banks retired from the professional game. He later returned to football, playing in America. It was common at the time for English players to semi-retire and move across the Atlantic to play in the North American Soccer League. It was with his time at Fort Lauderdale Strikers that a very interesting loan opportunity arose.

I don’t think many people could believe it, Gordon Banks playing for Saint Patrick’s Athletic. The stadium was filled to capacity and chants of “Gordon Banks, Gordon Banks, Gordon Banks” rang throughout Richmond Park. It was a big game too, a Dublin derby against Shamrock Rovers. Banks had been having a relatively comfortable game until a few minutes from the end. The ball fell kindly to Eamon Dunphy and he struck a well hit volley which looked destined for the top corner. But Banks was up to the task and made a fantastic save. He managed to keep a clean sheet and the Saints won one nil. Unfortunately this was his only appearance for the club as he returned to America to finish his playing career.

Generally regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, he won FIFA’s goalkeeper of the year six times. The World Cup Winner won 73 caps for England and will always be remembered for making one of the greatest ever saves when he somehow turned Pele’s goal bound header out for a corner at the World Cup in 1970. But for those in attendance that night in Inchicore it will be his heroic save against Shamrock Rovers that they will always remember him for.

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