Monday 14 October 2019

Charlton bids a fond farewell to 'world's greatest keeper' Banksy

Paying his respects: Jack Charlton gets help as he and wife Pat Kemp arrive for the funeral of former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday. Photo: PA Wire
Paying his respects: Jack Charlton gets help as he and wife Pat Kemp arrive for the funeral of former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday. Photo: PA Wire

David Charlesworth

Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton was among football stars past and present at the funeral of World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks yesterday.

The former England international died aged 81 on February 12.

His funeral was held at Stoke Minster. Geoff Hurst, Bobby and Jack Charlton and Roger Hunt, who were in the starting XI alongside Banks as England defeated West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final, were among the mourners.

Hurst said: "He was a superstar on the field but off the field he was not a superstar at all.

"He was a very ordinary guy, never had any airs and graces, and that was one of the beautiful things about Banksy."

Jack Butland, Joe Anyon and Kasper Schmeichel - the number ones at the three English clubs Banks played for, Stoke, Chesterfield and Leicester - served as pallbearers.

Irish author, humanitarian and media producer Don Mullan gave an emotive eulogy to a man he idolised growing up in Derry and with whom he developed a friendship in his later years.

Mullan said: "He was not only the world's greatest goalkeeper, I had a colossus of humanity for a mentor.

"From being a timid, fearful young boy, he taught me that impossible doesn't exist. Unknown to him he helped save a young fan from making choices that had brought too much sorrow and sadness to Irish and British alike.

"Who knows? Perhaps it was his best save ever."

Irish Independent

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