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Gordon Banks: “I honestly thought Pele’s header had gone in… I said to myself: ‘Banksy, you lucky t***’”

Gordon Banks Pele

Tottenham 2-0 Leicester

May 6, 1961 • FA Cup final

“When I was a teenager, I was lucky to see a cup final on television, and here I was, walking out at Wembley to play in one. We lost, but it was an experience. That was where it all started for me.”

England 4-2 West Germany

July 30, 1966 • World Cup final

“It doesn’t get any better than winning the World Cup, shaking hands with the Queen, with the Wembley crowd going berserk. I was so happy when Geoff Hurst banged that goal in at the end. Was his other one over the line? Of course! I was in the perfect position...”

Gordon Banks England

England 0-1 Brazil

June 7, 1970 • World Cup group stage

“Everyone still talks about the save from Pele. It was just instinct. You can’t anticipate a header because your body weight would be all wrong, but in training beforehand I had Bobby Charlton hitting shots into the ground because the pitches were rock hard in Mexico. That helped me predict the bounce, but I honestly thought it had gone in. I looked around, and said to myself: ‘Banksy, you lucky tw*t.’”

Stoke 2-1 Chelsea

March 4, 1972 • League Cup final

Tony Waddington had put together a great squad, and although Chelsea were the favourites, we won. Half of us were in tears; Stoke hadn’t won a cup final in 100-odd years. The celebrations back in the Potteries were incredible.

Gordon Banks Stoke

Interview: Andrew Murray

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