What a save! Thoughts on the death of Gordon Banks

Dave Taylor.
Author:Dave Taylor
Posted on: Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

As I write this, the sad news is breaking that one of football’s greatest ever goalkeepers, Gordon Banks, has passed away.

Gordon Banks in 1970Gordon will be forever remembered for that stunning save from the legendary Pele, in the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. Even the commentator, the late David Coleman, a man not known for his lack of words, could only gasp ‘What a save, what a save! Gordon Banks!’

I was a 7-year-old boy transfixed by the snowy pictures and crackled sound being transmitted from a country the name of which I only knew from the Esso World Cup coins I was collecting in the run up to the tournament.

Just two years later, with Banks still England’s No.1, his career came to shattering end. News broke that Gordon had been involved in a serious car crash, resulting in the loss of an eye. Banks’ career was finished. Though the footballing fraternity gathered to offer support, Banks was left with financial hardship, so much so that he was forced to sell his England caps and League Cup Winners medal he had won with his club, Stoke City. A life devastated by blindness in one eye. Tragic.

Across the world women, men and children living in the world’s poorest places become needlessly blind because of conditions that can be easily treated. This too, is not only tragic it’s an outrage.

So allow me to ask a simple question: If you could save a child’s sight for as little as £95, would you? That’s what it costs for a  sight-restoring cataract surgery for a child. For an adult, the operation costs just £24.  Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. But for millions of people living in poverty, this operation is out of reach.  

People like 3 year-old Shakulu from Uganda or elderly couple Bernadino and Leonarda from Peru.

Imagine giving a child, a mum, a grandad who is needlessly blind their sight back.

What a save! What a save!

Find out more about our work preventing avoidable blindness:

Dave Taylor is Head of Philanthropy and Partnerships at CBM UK.

Image (top): Gordon Banks in 1970. Panini [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons



Keep up to date! Enter your email to receive information about our vital work, appeals and events as well as how you can make a difference.

Please complete the fields below: