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Stoke and England legend Gordon Banks dies, aged 81

The family of England World Cup winning and Stoke City legend goalkeeper Gordon Banks have confirmed he has died.

In a statement released by the club, they say the 81-year-old passed away peacefully in his sleep overnight.

They said: "We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him."

Banks, one of the heroes of England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, is widely regarded as one of the game’s greatest ever goalkeepers.

He was named FIFA goalkeeper of the year six times during his England career, during which he earned 73 caps.

Banks also made almost 200 appearances for the Potters between 1967 and 1973, and since 2000 had been Club president.

Tributes are already pouring in for the goalkeeper, from the world of sport and beyond.

Jack Butland, who has followed in the footsteps of Gordon Banks by playing for the club and his country, is amongst those who have been to the bet365 Stadium today to pay tribute.

He said: "He was an incredibly generous and humble man, a family man, and a football man, who did everything to be best of his ability.

"I wanted to come and show my respects.

"Everything was such a blur I left the flowers in the car.

"It is important for myself to be here, but then turn attentions to tomorrow night in his honour, and win the game." 

Fellow World Cup winner, Sir Bobby Charlton, said: "Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had. I was proud to call him a team-mate.

"Obviously we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that. Even though I was on the pitch and have seen it many times since, I still don’t know how he saved that header from Pele."

The Football League has announced there will be a period of applause ahead of all fixtures from tonight until Sunday, in celebration of his life.

Bishop of Stafford, the Right Revd Geoff Annas: “Leaving aside his achievements in football, Gordon Banks was a true gentleman who worked hard for the well-being of so many in Stoke and North Staffordshire through his support of a number of charities.

"I have been at many functions when his arrival has sent a buzz around the room - he was so popular. My thoughts are with Gordon’s family and his many friends."

Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “Gordon Banks OBE was a legend, revered by football fans in Staffordshire, England and around the world, yet everyone who met him would say that he was the most humble person, someone who had time for everyone.

“Throughout his battles with illness he maintained his dignity and still found time to help others, including many charities. He may not have been born in Staffordshire, but he made it his home and he will be sadly missed by the many, many people here who knew and respected him.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sad news about Gordon Banks who I had the pleasure to meet on a few occasions. A gentleman and a football legend RIP

A post shared by John Bishop (@johnbish100) on

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