Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks
Image from: freelargeimages.com

Gordon Banks

Current Club: N/A.

Previous Clubs: Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Stoke City, Leicester City, Chesterfield.

Loan Clubs: Scarborough, St Patricks Athletic, Hellenic.

International: England 73 caps.

Trophies Won: World Cup 1966, English League Cup 1972, 1964.

Arguably the best keeper ever to play the game, certainly the finest the British Isles have ever produced, Banks lacked the advantages of the modern keeper, such as coaching. In his day keepers had no individual goalkeeping coach and so Banks would come up with his own training sessions, highly unusual at the time.

He was also constantly looking to foreign keepers to learn from them, starting with Manchester City's legendary former POW, the German Bert Trautmann. It was he who suggested to Banks that he should chew gum until the icing was cracking, then spit on his hands and smooth it over. When an attack was building up Banks would then lick his hands to make them sticky.

In those days he never wore gloves unless it rained, only beginning to wear gloves all the time in 1970 after being influenced by South American keepers. Of course 1970 provides evidence of his greatness as a keeper, with that save from Pele's header that is still lauded to this day as the best save of all time.

However what it does not show is the key to Banks' goalkeeping, which was his organisation of the defence. He was extremely vocal, constantly in the ear of his defence and guiding them. Something that has somewhat disappeared out of the game in the modern era, with all the tactical coaching to a large degree removing the need for a keeper to organise the defence.

Banks was agile, with excellent positioning and used his feet really well, in terms of movement. Even after losing an eye in a car crash Banks was still able to perform to a good level in the NASL. Despite the issues with depth perception, his agility and positioning were able to make him one of the stars of that early attempt to launch soccer in the USA.

Requested by - c_matthews94