As well as being a fine goalkeeper, it’s well established and well documented that the late Gordon Banks was a thoroughly nice bloke to go with it.
Just one example of Banks’ gentlemanly courtesy has been offered by former Leicester Mercury reporter Lee Marlow, who recalled a conversation that the Foxes legend once had with his son, himself a budding goalkeeper.
As the transcript shows, Banks was more than willing to offer the youngster a wide array of thoughtful advice.
I interviewed Gordon Banks when I was at the Mercury.
I told him my lad played in goal.
I didn’t put his response in the story but it was so lovely I transcribed it and gave it to my son.
It’s still on his bedroom wall today.
God bless you, Gordon Banks x pic.twitter.com/ItGZmqQwTQ
— Lee Marlow (@LM_Marlow) 12 February 2019
The transcript in full:
Hello Lucas, your dad told me that you want to be a goalkeeper? Good lad. We always need good goalkeepers.
Here’s some advice from me…
First of all, you have to work hard. Being a goalkeeper is not easy. But the more you play, the more you practice, the easier it gets.
The more you play, your eyes will get better at spotting the angles. You begin to know where the ball will go. This is called anticipation – great goalies have good anticipation.
The eyes pick up the direction of the ball, how it floats through the air, and send messages to your brain and then to your hands. Keep practising and you’ll get better and better at this.
Always know where you are in the goal, narrow the angles down, make it as hard for the striker to score as possible.
Play with a smaller ball. Playing with a bigger ball will seem much easier if you’ve been used to playing with a smaller one.
Play games like table-tennis – that will help you sharpen your reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination. Throw a tennis ball against the wall and catch it.
And be brave – you have to be brave to come out for crosses, or dive at the feet of a centre forward trying to score past you.
And be brave, too, if you lose or make a mistake. We all make them – I made some mistakes – but I never let anyone see that I was upset.
Good luck, Lucas.
He could have fobbed him off with a few platitudes and a pat on the head, but Banks instead went into great detail about what it is to be a goalkeeper in the interest of helping an aspiring youngster on his way.
Football has truly lost one of its very best.