Stepney believed Gordon Banks was a gentleman

The former England national team player talked how he missed Banks in the 1970 World Cup last match and the kind of person he was.

The England national team was knocked out of the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico by West Germany.

That day, goalkeeper Gordon Banks did not play as he was sick in his hotel room.

“The day of the quarter-final we went for breakfast, then for a walk. The game was at midday, it was 100 degrees, it was the turn of Peter Bonetti [Chelsea goalkeeper] to be the substitute goalkeeper, not mine, and when Alf [Ramsey] named the team he named Gordon and that seemed to be it,” former Three Lions footballer Alex Stepney told The Guardian.

“The FIFA rules of those times were that if you weren’t involved you had to go and sit in the stand. So I went back to my room to get my camera and that’s when I found that Gordon was bad and being sick in the toilet.”

“I became a sub, Peter Bonetti was now selected. Yet when I went back to my room after the match Gordon thought we’d won because we were 2-0 up [Banks was watching a delayed television broadcast],” he explained.

“I had to tell him the bad news. I held up my fingers to indicate the score [2-3] and he just couldn’t believe it. I think it made him worse!”

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“Don’t forget in those days we didn’t have goalkeeper coaches,” he remembered.

“Basically what you did you did for yourself and when I worked with him we expressed ideas between us – that’s what it was all about.”

“He inspired me so much regarding how I played: I’d like to think I wasn’t a flashy keeper, either. I learned a lot from him, working and playing against him,” Stepney continued.

“Gordon was such a gentleman and an absolute one-off. His death is a very sad loss to the game.”

“He is England’s best-ever goalkeeper – he won the World Cup, as simple as that, and 53 years on he’s still the only keeper who has done that,” he said.

“At the end of the day I had Gordon Banks in front of me regarding England and you cannot argue with that.”

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