Sunday, 13 December 2015

Gordon Banks - My Hero

Growing up as a young lad, I was obsessed with being a goalkeeper, even though I was small.  Playing football on fields, I threw myself all over the place, having my young buddies calling me Banksie.  When it came to the game, the most interesting player to me was the goalkeeper, and I remember perfectly the incredible save Banks made from the header of Pele during the 1970 World Cup game against Brazil.  Then there was the penalty save from Geoff Hurst, helping Stoke into the League Cup final in 1972.  I remember that Frank Lampard Sr, could not bare to watch. But the sickener was the car crash that truly ended his career, even though he was really at the end of it.  What was it about him that still makes him my hero?  He had presence and command at the back. Not as agile as say, Peter Bonetti, of Chelsea, but capable of organising the defence to his satisfaction.  And having all the qualities.  His deputy at Stoke for years, was John Farmer.  Farmer had bought a hairdressing business in Little Sutton, and had Banksie officially open it for him.  Also present, if my memory serves me correctly, was Mike Bernard of Stoke.  Some people on polls have put the three greatest goalkeepers as 1) Lev Yashin of Russia.  2) Gordon Banks.  3) Dino Zoff of Italy.

    Players remembered include Ken Mulhearn and Harry Dowd of Manchester City, Alex Stepney and Jimmy Rimmer of Manchester United, Tommy Lawrence & Ray Clemence of Liverpool, Gordon West and Andy Rankin of Everton, Phil Parkes of QPR & West Ham, Phil Parkes of Wolves, Kevin Keelan of Norwich, Jim Montgomery of Sunderland, Gary Sprake and David Harvey of Leeds, John Jackson of Crystal Palace, Bob Wilson and Geoff Barnett of Arsenal, Pat Jennings of Spurs, Peter Shilton of Leicester & Forest, Peter Bonetti, Barry Watling of Notts County, John Armstrong of Southport, Mike Gibson, and there was Phil Owers, who debuted for Darlington at 17 but let in seven against Southport, and was said to have left the field in tears.  The crowd gave him a standing ovation.  What about Tom McAllister, who saved two penalties from Alan Hinton of Derby.  Did he play for Sheffield Wednesday?  Sheffield United did have John Hope in goal in the early 70`s.  Ah yes, memories.

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