Players and fans pay tribute as England World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies age 81

Players past and present have joined fans in paying tribute to England World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81.

The news of his passing was released by his family through his former club as a statement on the Stoke City website.

Banks said in 2015 he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer for a second time. His initial diagnosis saw him lose one kidney to the disease.

Mourners have paid tribute to the footballer at Stoke City's stadium. Credit: PA

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

The club later confirmed that players and managers had observed a minute's silence ahead of Tuesday's training session.

At Stoke City's bet365 stadium, fans have left floral tributes the former England number one. A statue dedicated to one of the club's most famous sons has been adorned with a the club's red and white scarf.

Fans have placed tributes to the player outside the Stoke City stadium. Credit: PA
Tributes at the Stoke City ground. Credit: PA

Banks is widely regarded as England's greatest ever goalkeeper, a title he earned through his phenomenal performance on the pitch. He will be best remembered for fending off a goal attempt by Brazil's Pele during a 1970 World Cup match.

To this day, the Brazilian doesn't know how the England goal keeper managed to twist his body to stop the ball entering the goal.

The feat defied the comprehension of his England team mates, too. Paying tribute to the player, Sir Bobby Charlton said: "I still don’t know how he saved that header from Pele."

Banks looked back fondly on his long football career, during an interview, he said he had to "battle through," crowds of celebrating fans to get to the team bus following the England's World Cup win in 1966.

A car crash in October 1972 led to him losing the sight in his right eye and he temporarily retired in the summer of 1973.

Speaking at the time of the crash, he said: "I want to keep playing, this is just another hurdle in life that I have to overcome."

And overcome it he did.

Banks returned to football, albeit in the United States. He signed a contract to play for Fort Lauderdale Strikers, joining the club despite his visual impairment. He was still very good, but couldn't keep up to the standards he set for himself and decided to move into management.

He coached at Stoke and Port Vale and was boss of non-league Telford, with his sacking in 1980 after just one full season in charge convincing him he did not want to carry on with team leadership.

Banks became known for incredible saves in goal. Credit: PA
  • Footballers and clubs pay tribute to Banks

Tributes have poured in from the footballing world for Banks, who made 510 league appearances for Chesterfield, Leicester and Stoke and won 73 senior international caps

Brazilian football star Pele paid tribute to the player saying he was "a goalkeeper with magic."

Former teammates from the 1966 England squad have shared their sadness on Banks' passing.

Sir Geoff Hurst posted a tribute to the footballer on Twitter.

He wrote: "Very sad to hear the news that Gordon has died. One of the very greatest. Thinking especially of Ursula, Julia, Wendy and Robert. Sad for football, Stoke City and for England fans. Will be very sadly missed."

Gordon Banks and Sir Geoff Hurst join other former England players with the Jules Rimet trophy in 2016. Credit: PA

Sir Bobby Charlton and his wife, Norma, said in a statement: "Lady Norma and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Gordon Banks.Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had. I was proud to call him a teammate.

"Obviously we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that."

Peter Shilton, who followed Banks as England number one, tweeted: "I'm devastated - today I've lost my hero our condolences to his family rip Gordon."

Tributes have poured in for the player. Credit: PA

Presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker was one of the first to pay tribute to Banks, writing on Twitter he was "such a lovely, lovely man."

Current England winger Raheem Sterling remembered Banks for his save against Pele's goal attempt during a 1970 meet with Brazil. He was joined by current England number one Jordan Pickford, who posted a clip of the save on social media.

Clubs Banks played at during his career have expressed their sadness at his passing. Leicester City, where he played for much of the 80s, said it is "deeply saddened to learn of the death" of its former goalkeeper.

Chesterfield FC, the club where Banks started his career in the 1950s, said the club's thoughts are with the keeper's family.

David Seaman, Paul Gascoigne and Jamie Vardy also posted messages in memory of Banks.

Stoke City tweeted an image of players and managers observing a minute's silence for the Banks ahead of training starting on Tuesday afternoon.

In a press conference ahead of its match with Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, club manager Nathan Jones said: "Everyone at the football club is very sad. Gordon Banks was very much loved at the club. Our thoughts go to his family at this sad time."