Gordon Banks: How England legend stuck up for heroes of 1966 World Cup win | Football | Sport

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Banks will be most fondly remembered for helping England to their only ever World Cup triumph in 1966 and his incredible save from Pele in 1970.

But he was also a leading voice as he spoke out about the ’disappointing’ treatment of the heroes of ’66 by the Football Association in the aftermath of English football’s finest hour.

Banks claimed many of the players who inspired the Three Lions to victory at Wembley had been left to their own devices as they battled illness and personal problems.

One example meant Nobby Stiles was forced to auction his winning medal in 2010 because of financial difficulties before Manchester United stepped in to buy them in the absence of any assistance from the FA.

Banks also sold his own medal – at Christie’s for more than £120,000 – to help his children by their first houses.

And speaking during last summer’s World Cup, as Gareth Southgate led England to a surprise semi-final appearance, Banks said he hoped the current crop of players would be more appreciated for their success.

“I hope if these guys succeed they feel more appreciated by the FA than we were,” he said.

“They should be. They will have deserved it. The FA have done nothing for us. I have been very disappointed with the FA and what they could have done for us.”

Banks also revealed the FA had been no help as the World Cup winners tried to arrange regular reunions to re-live the heroics of ’66.

“We used to be able to get together ourselves, which Geoff Hurst organised,” he said.

“We did that for a good few years, but so much has happened to the players now.

“A few suffer from Alzheimer’s, a few others we have lost. Geoff had to stop it. We all felt sad about that.”

Tributes flooded in for Banks – who was named FIFA’s goalkeeper of the year for six years in a row between 1966 and 1971 – after news of his death broke.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster said on Twitter: “Rest in Peace Gordon Banks.

“Had the pleasure of meeting you as an 18 year old with my Dad, and him being completely star struck by you. Total gent. You will always be a member of the Goallys Union.”

On learning of the death of the former Leicester keeper, ex-Foxes and England striker Gary Lineker said: “Oh no. Gordon Banks, an absolute hero of mine, and countless others, has died. @England’s World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man. #RIPGordon.”

Harry Maguire, who was part of the England side that reached last year’s World Cup semi-final said: “A World Cup winner, a legend. RIP Gordon Banks.”

Maguire’s England team-mate Raheem Sterling also paid a fitting tribute.

Sterling said: “Of course there was THAT save, but its so much more we are mourning today. RIP Gordon Banks. @England legend, your legacy will live on. All my thoughts with the family.”

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