Sad to read of Gordon Banks' passing. He was one of my heros when I was a kid (I was 6 at the time of the Mexico World Cup) and I always thought of him as the best goalkeeper in the world.
I saw him on TV not too long ago and he did come across as a very pleasant and knowledgable gentleman.
Very sad to hear this news. He was one of the great international keepers of all time although strangely he could be sloppy on occasions in club matches - George Cohen, one of his World Cup-winning team mates, alluded to that on the telly at teatime. It didn't happen very often mind, but when compared with his extremely high international standard which he maintained consistently it was bound to be noticed.
In many ways the World Cup winning team was treated shabbily by the FA immediately afterwards and down the years. Furthermore, when we see the sort of honours the government advises the Queen to bestow on many people these days, it's inconceivable that Gordon Banks, almost certainly England's best ever goalkeeper and one of the world all-time greats, and a World Cup winner, was not knighted. He received the OBE, somewhat down the scale from a knighthood.
It's possible England might have won the World Cup in 1970 in Mexico too. Gordon Banks was taken ill immediately before the quarter-final match against West Germany (had to be them again) and was replaced by Chelsea's Peter Bonetti. England were cruising 2-0 up in the second half when Bonetti let slip a simple shot to bring West Germany back into the match. An equaliser followed and England went on to lose 2-3 after extra time. Had Gordon played who knows what the result might have been. It's very likely that England would have progressed to the semi-finals.
I am a near contemporary of Gordon Banks - he was a few years older than me - and I was lucky enough to watch him numerous times on the telly both for his clubs and country. As someone who stood between the sticks for a few years in a mediocre semi-professional league, I remember marvelling at his all-round brilliance.
Thank you Gordon for so many footballing memories with that impossible-to-forget afternoon of Saturday 30 July 1966 topping the lot. I watched the game live on the BBC and even the commentator, the legendary Kenneth Wolstenholme, got in on the act with his oft-quoted remark as Geoff Hurst made certain of the England win.
Sincere condolences to Gordon's family and friends. Rest In Peace.