Stoke and England goalkeeper Jack Butland pays tribute to his hero

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Stoke and England goalkeeper Jack Butland pays tribute to his hero

Jack Butland has paid tribute to England’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81.

Stoke legend Banks is regarded as the country’s greatest ever keeper and widely remembered for the gravity-defying save which denied Pele at the 1970 World Cup.

And Butland, the current Stoke No. 1, described the loss as a sad one for all of football.

“It’s a massively sad day for everyone, he told talkSPORT. “Not just connected with Stoke, but for football in general because of what he brought to the game. It’s a sad loss for the world of football.

Banks’ save will forever be remembered

“I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know him in the last few years. Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him will tell you what he’s like – he immediately lifted up the room whenever he walked in.

“He had a witty and funny personality but he was extremely humble and positive. He was an incredible person.

“I had the pleasure of meeting him in the last few weeks at his home with his family. We had a cup of tea and chatted about all sorts of football things. They’re memories that I hold very dear.

“It’s going to be strange for the club and me to not have him around.


“I’ll always hold onto his legacy and those memories we have and use it as fuel for fire. I’ll never be able to fill his shoes unless we go and win two World Cups!”

Banks’ glittering career was full of enviable highlights, not least that save, and his part in the 1966 World Cup triumph.

He was named FIFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year no less than six times, and Butland reveals how special it was to be in his company.

Banks was 81-years-old when he passed away overnight

Banks was 81-years-old when he passed away overnight

“It was humbling every time I met him to realise how lucky we have things,” he added.

“He was telling me how his weight training sessions were diving around with bags of sand strapped to him. Kids taking shots at him until it was dark.”

And Butland believes that save against Pele is quite rightly remembered as one of the greatest of all-time.

Butland described his close personal relationship with Banks

Butland described his close personal relationship with Banks

“He’d say that Charlton came up to him after that save against Pele and said: ‘Any chance of you stopping it going for a corner?’” Butland added.

“It was pretty awesome to be on that end of the story. He was fairly humble about the save, although he did say it was a very good one!

“It’s one of those saves that we can never quite appreciate how good it was without being there or being in the moment. It’s an incredible save and is quite rightly up there with one of the greatest of all time.”




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