Gordon BANKS OBE (1937-)

Gordon Banks
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THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Gordon Banks, football goalkeeper, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews during a photo shoot with his current club, Stoke City, in a South London Co-op store.

Gordon joined Chesterfield in March 1953, and played for their youth team before making his first team debut in November 1958. He was sold to Leicester City for £7,000 in July 1959 and played in four cup finals for the club, winning the League Cup in 1964 and finishing as finalists in 1965.

He entered the 1966 FIFA World Cup as England's first choice goalkeeper, and played every game of England’s 1966 World Cup victory. Despite this success he was sold on to Stoke City in April 1967.

Gordon is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

“Dear me!”

Screenshots of Gordon Banks This Is Your Life

Gordon Banks autobiography

Gordon Banks recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography Banksy...

It was the summer of 1973. My career as a goalkeeper in league football was over. Tony Waddington gave me a job as coach to the Stoke City youth team, with a brief to offer specialist coaching to young goalkeepers.

The first day I gathered my young charges together, I was dumbfounded. Of all the apprentices on the club’s books, there was not a single goalkeeper! The lad who kept goal for the Stoke youth team was an amateur who had a day job and only trained at Stoke two evenings a week.

The club were very supportive and granted me a testimonial. It was a great night. All my former England colleagues turned up to play, along with several stars from around the world. I was treated to the unique sight of Bobby Charlton running out of the tunnel alongside Eusebio, both wearing the red and white stripes of Stoke City.

Seeing Bobby Charlton and Eusebio playing for Stoke was not the only surprise I had that year. I travelled to London thinking I was about to do some promotional work for a company. The meeting was to take place in the lounge bar of a well-known hotel [bigredbook.info editor: the 'pick-up' actually took place in a South London Co-op store]. For some minutes I hung about wondering where the representatives of the company were. I was suddenly aware of a man at my shoulder. I turned and was surprised to see Eamonn Andrews holding the Big Red Book in his hand.

’Tonight, Gordon Banks,' he said, 'this is your life!'

I had no inkling about this at all. I was whisked away in a daze to a television studio where Ursula, Robert, Wendy, Julia, my mum and other members of my family were waiting to spill the beans.

One by one their disembodied voices sounded behind the scenes before revealing themselves to me and the nation. Members of my immediate family were followed by close friends, staff from the North Staffs Hospital, Tony Waddington, my former Stoke City team mates, Alf Ramsay, ex-England colleagues, old school chums and two guys I didn't know from Adam and still don’t. Just when I thought one of my best pals had more important things to do, a voice from behind the screen said, ‘You’re getting old, Banksy. You used to hold on to them.’

Good old Bobby. I should have known he'd never let me down.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 325
  • Subject No: 326
  • Broadcast live: Wed 8 Mar 1972
  • Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 12
  • Edition: 17

on the guest list...

  • George Eastham
  • Jackie Marsh
  • Mike Pejic
  • Mike Bernard
  • Denis Smith
  • Alan Bloor
  • Terry Conroy
  • Jimmy Greenhoff
  • John Ritchie
  • Peter Dobing
  • John Mahoney
  • Tony Waddington
  • Ursula - wife
  • David - brother
  • Mike - brother
  • Helen - mother
  • Robert - son
  • Wendy - daughter
  • Julia - daughter
  • Tom Boid
  • Stan Baxter
  • Bert Gleaves
  • Harold Elliott
  • Bernard Foy
  • Albert Williams
  • Arthur Sutherland
  • Bobby Moore
  • Geoff Hurst
  • Filmed tribute:
  • Bobby Charlton

external links...

production team...

  • Researchers: Martin Robertson, Sarah Dickinson
  • Writer: Jack Crawshaw
  • Director: Margery Baker
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 12 subjects: George Best > Alfred Marks > Rolf Harris > Don Whillans > Sacha Distel > Les Dawson > Doris Hare > Keith Michell > David Frost > Barry John > Michael Flanders > Charlie Williams > Ginette Spanier > Hughie Green > Tom Courtenay > Hylda Baker > Gordon Banks > Alan Rudkin > Michael Wood > Graham Kerr > Pauline Collins > Ray Illingworth > Patricia Hayes > Fred "Nosher" Powell > Richard Briers > Lulu