Gordon Banks Pic Credit PA.jpg
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England World Cup Winner Gordon Banks Dies Aged 81

The footballer served in the Royal Corps of Signals during his National Service.

Gordon Banks Pic Credit PA.jpg

The goalkeeper served for two years in the military before his football career (Picture: PA).

England's 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81, his family has announced.

Banks, who revealed in 2016 that he was battling kidney cancer for the second time, died peacefully overnight.

Before beginning a career in professional football, he served in the Royal Corps of Signals as part of his National Service.

He was a Motorcycle Despatch Rider from 1955 to 1957 in Germany.

During his time with the military, Banks still had sporting success, winning the Rhine Cup.

A statement, issued by former club Stoke City on the Banks family's behalf, said: "It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight.

"We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.

"We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this time."

Banks made 510 league appearances for Chesterfield, Leicester - with whom he won the League Cup in 1964 - and Stoke before retiring from the professional game at the age of 34 following a road accident which cost him the sight in his right eye, although he later returned briefly to the sport in America.

Tributes have been paid to Gordon Banks, including by his former regiment

During his six years at Stoke, Banks reached two FA Cup semi-finals and won the League Cup in 1972. After his retirement, he became the club president in 2000 following the death of Sir Stanley Matthews.

But it was on the international stage that he established himself as a star, making his England debut in a 2-1 defeat by Scotland at Wembley in April 1963 and going on to win 73 senior caps, most famously in the 4-2 World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966.

One of Banks' most memorable moments was a logic-defining save to keep out a Pele header in the 1970 World Cup.

He was also part of BFBS's World Cup coverage in 2010 and discussed that iconic save against Brazil.

'I trained hard out there' - Gordon Banks recalls his football career

England manager Gareth Southgate said on the Football Association website: "I am deeply saddened to hear of Gordon's passing.

"An all-time great for England, I was privileged enough to be in his company on a number of occasions.

"It was particularly special to be with him at a Football Writers' tribute dinner last year and wish him well on his 80th birthday.

"Gordon spoke to the room about that incredible save from Pele against Brazil back in 1970 and moments like that from his remarkable World Cup-winning career will continue to linger long in the memory.

"On behalf of everyone connected with England, I send my condolences to his wife Ursula, his family and friends."

The Football League have announced they will be paying tribute to Banks during the midweek fixtures. Every Championship, League 1 and League 2 game played on Tuesday or Wednesday will be preceded with a period of applause.