World champion in 1966 with England, Banks became a football legend thanks to his parade against Pele in 1970. He died at 81 years of age following cancer.

By Alexandre Pedro Posted today at 11:45, updated at 15h03

Time to Reading 4 min.

Gordon Banks meets posterity on June 7, 1970 in Guadalajara, Mexico at 10e minute of a England-Brazil first round of the World Cup football. He relaxes his whole length to turn a corner of a firm hand to a recovery of the head of Pelé, who has already raised his arms to heaven. The English guard gets up with the feeling of the duty accomplished. "At first I just said, 'Banksy, you lucky bastard!'" No time to savor for the "Fucking lucky", it's about refocusing for the next action, only his teammate Nobby Stiles slips a pat on the head to thank him. Banks does not know it yet, he just realized, at age 32, what is considered the turn of the century.

Nicknamed "Banks of England" in his country, the former guardian died on the night of Monday, February 11th to Tuesday, February 12th at the age of 81. He had a kidney cancer diagnosed in December 2015. "It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon died peacefully in the night. We are devastated by this loss, but we have so many good memories that we could not be more proud of him ", his family wrote in this release published by Stoke City, Banks' club between 1967 and 1973.

Gordon Banks had agreed to bring back his life, his career, but also his obituary to Guadalajara. "I will always be remembered for this stop, even though I was world champion in 1966, but it does not matter. I love talking about it because there was the biggest team in the sport that could play this sport », he summarized one day everyday The Guardian.

Because they are henchmen in a sport of feet, the goalkeepers are the forgotten football Hall of Fame. With the Soviet Lev Yachine (only Golden Ball gloved in 1963) and the Italian Dino Zoff, world champion in 1982 at the canonical age (40 years), Banks is an exception.

With his world title, his 73 selections and his two Cups of England with Leicester, the Englishman – who discovered his vocation as a goalkeeper at 15 – has a good career, but owes his place in the history of his sport to one sentence: that pronounced by Pelé after the match (won 1-0 by the Brazilians). Good prince, "the King" covers Banks of glory in ten words. "I scored a goal, but Banks stopped him. " In a more English humor, his captain, Bobby Moore, slips to his guardian: "You're getting old Banksy, you used to block these balloons. "

Gordon Banks, in 1965.
Gordon Banks, 1965. PA / AP

Beer poisoning and loss of the right eye

This World Cup in Mexico will be like the life of the native of Yorkshire, made of moments of glory and improbable guigne. A week after his parry, Banks forfeits the quarter-final against West Germany. The belly in bulk, he suffers from intoxication caused by a beer sipped the day before.

Without him, the English take the door (3-2 defeat) and start what will become a national sport afterwards: to blame the goalkeeper, in this case Peter Bonetti, suspect on the goal of Franz Beckenbauer. The "Kaiser" states on this subject that "If Banks had been in goal, [s]shooting would never have crossed the line. "

Gordon Banks will know worse than a stale beer. On October 22, 1972, he suffered a car accident and lost the use of his right eye. At 34, Banks has to put away his gloves. But the call of the young North American championship comes out of retirement and the English part discover the charms of Florida to defend the cages of Strikers Fort Lauderdale. On the lawns of the NASL (North American Soccer League), he will meet other famous pre-retirees, such as Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer and … Pelé. Left eye alert, Banks is named best goalkeeper of the NASL in 1978.

After a short and anecdotic career as a coach, the world champion had a peaceful retirement in Sheffield, interrupted by a few ceremonies, galas and prize giveaways where he told the story again and again.e minute to Guadalajara. He also watched with kindness the career of his nephew, Nick, drummer of Pulp group who knows his hour of glory in the 1990s in full britpop movement.

In an interview with the magazine So FootNick Banks evoked this uncle like no other. "At my grandmother's family reunions, we had fun shooting Gordon at the back of the garden. Like that, on Monday morning, I could go back to school and say, "Yeah, I scored a hat-trick against Gordon Banks this weekend. Easy." " Even Pelé can not say that much.

Alexandre Pedro

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