West Ham United joins the football world in mourning the loss of legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks who has passed away aged 81.
The former Stoke, Leicester and Chesterfield goalkeeper played 73 times for England and was part of the 1966 World Cup-winning team alongside West Ham’s own legendary trio Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst.
Banks and Hurst were two of the crucial cogs in that World Cup triumph, proving decisive in the two most important positions on the pitch.
Banks rated West Ham save his best ever
But when the pair came face-to-face for West Ham and Stoke respectively to earn a place in the League Cup final six years later, it was Banks who came out on top.
Asked in 2016 if denying Pele was his crowning glory, Banks replied: “No, that was a penalty (save) from Geoff Hurst against Stoke in the League Cup semi-final in 1972,” (Channel News).
Stoke were hanging to a 1-0 second-leg lead which had the Potters level 2-2 on aggregate.
But West Ham looked to be heading for the final when Harry Redknapp was brought down for a penalty with four minutes remaining at a packed Upton Park.
Banks reflex save stopped Hammers reaching final
Up stepped Hurst taking on the man he had lifted the World Cup with.
He smashed a typically fierce strike but Banks somehow reacted to palm the ball over the bar.
Stoke went on to reach the final after two replays before defeating Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley.
Redknapp, speaking on BBC Five Live on Tuesday, recalled the moment.
‘West Ham had a problem… Gordon was in goal’
“I tried to take it past him and he brought me down. And when you have a penalty you wouldn’t want anybody better than Geoff to take it for you at a vital stage of the game,” Redknapp said on Five Live.
“The only problem was they had Gordon Banks in goal.
“That was daunting and you knew it would be difficult to beat him and sure enough even though Geoff was a great penalty taker, he couldn’t put it past Banksy.”
Rest in peace Gordon Banks.