How World Cup winner Gordon Banks helped St Pat's beat Shamrock Rovers in 1977

By Steve Neville

The news of Gordon Banks passing away has led to many sharing memories of the World Cup-winning shot-stopper.

His former club, Stoke City, released a statement from the Banks family today, saying: "It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight.

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

Among those paying tribute, is League of Ireland side St Patrick's Atheltic, who Banks famously made an appearance for in 1977.

Banks' save to deny Pele in the 1970 World Cup is one of the most famous stops in history, but fans at Inchicore may say his stop against Eamon Dunphy was better.

Banks lost the sight in his right eye after being injured in a road accident in 1972 and retired at the age of 34 as a result, but he lined out for St Pat's in 1977 against a Shamrock Rovers side led by Ireland legend Johnny Giles.

Former manager Barry Bridges retold the story of how the Banks appearance happened on stpatsfc.com in 2014.

With starting goalkeeper Mick O’Brien injured, Bridges flew to England in search of a replacement which proved joyless. That was until "a chance encounter with Gordon Banks" at Heathrow Airport.

Bridges explained he needed a goalkeeper and "Banksy said, jokingly, ‘what’s wrong with me?’"

Bridges replied: "‘Banksy, you’ve only got one eye,’ and he said: ‘I can see the same balls with one eye that I could with two eyes, I’ll come over and play for you.’

"I said: ‘You’re kidding me.’ He said: ‘No.’ He was going back to America a few weeks later but he said: ‘I’ll come over for a game if the money’s all right’. I said: ‘leave it with me.’"

"So I flew back to Dublin and called a board meeting and they nearly died when I told them who it was. We offered him £500, which was bloody good money in those days."

Bridges told stpatsfc.com that he was afraid Banks would see Richmond Park and call off the venture "so the club official was under orders not to mention the ground as they passed" on his arrival at Dublin.

The former Pat's boss said Banks was "different class".

He said: "He [Banks] treated the whole thing as if he was playing for England. He walked in and shook everybody’s hands, he made everybody happy. He told them, ‘the 18-yard box is mine even if I have only got one eye’.

"We played Shamrock Rovers, won 1-0 and he made an unbelievable save at the end to keep it at 1-0. There were people up in trees, there must have been about 5,000 people there. It was a full house, we won 1-0 and then he went off to America."

Off The Ball's Darren Cleary shared the match report on Twitter which heaps praise on the former England No 1.

"A brilliant save by Gordon Banks and an own-goal from Leo Kearns at Richmond Park, yesterday, combined to provide Johnny Giles with his first set-back since he took over as player-manager of Shamrock Rovers," reads the opening of Kieran Rooney's report.

The report also deals with why Banks only played one game for St Pat's.

"We can't afford it," Bridges says in the report.

Banks was given £500 for his appearance but 12,500 people showed up to see him play, earning the club gate receipts of £2,200.

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