Earlier this week, Gordon Banks died at the age of 81. What many of you may not know, is that the great man himself visited Pedmore CE Primary in 1972. The Head Teacher at the time, Mrs Smith, organised the visit as her brother was a personal friend of Gordon. A football match was played and Gordon presented the trophy to the winning team, later staying to sign autographs.
You can view some video of the event here:
What Pele says…
Brazil legend Pele described ex-England international Gordon Banks as a “goalkeeper with magic” after the 1966 World Cup winner died at the age of 81.
The football world has been paying tribute to Banks, a world champion 53 years ago but best remembered for a save from Pele at the 1970 World Cup.
But iconic forward Pele said he was “glad” his header was kept out.
“That act was the start of a friendship between us that I will always treasure,” the 78-year-old said.
“Whenever we met, it was always like we had never been apart.”
Three-time World Cup winner Pele said on social media: “I have great sadness in my heart today and I send condolences to the family he was so proud of.
“Rest in peace, my friend. Yes, you were a goalkeeper with magic. But you were also so much more. You were a fine human being.”
Banks’ save to deny Pele 49 years ago has been described as the ‘save of the century’ and Pele has previously admitted he thought he had scored.
“For many people, their memory of Gordon Banks is defined by the save he made against me in 1970. I understand why,” Pele added.
“The save was one of the best I have ever seen – in real life and in all the thousands of games I have watched since.
“When you are a footballer, you know straight away how well you have hit the ball. I hit that header exactly as I had hoped. Exactly where I wanted it to go. And I was ready to celebrate.
“But then this man, Banks, appeared in my sight, like a kind of blue phantom, is how I described him.
“He came from nowhere and he did something I didn’t feel was possible. He pushed my header, somehow, up and over. And I couldn’t believe what I saw. Even now when I watch it, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe how he moved so far, so fast.
“I scored so many goals in my life, but many people, when they meet me, always ask me about that save. While it was indeed phenomenal, my memory of Gordon is not defined by that – it is defined by his friendship. He was a kind and warm man who gave so much to people.
“So I am glad he saved my header – because that act was the start of a friendship between us that I will always treasure.”