Kenilworth: Course open. Trolleys allowed. 2 seat ride on buggies not permitted.
Tuesday 11th September 2018
One of the legends of England football graced the clubhouse with his presence in the first Sportsmen's Evening of 2016. Gordon Banks - one of the best goal keepers the world has ever seen - visited Kenilworth Golf Club and held his audience enthralled as he spoke about his career.
It was fascinating to hear of his early years - of how, at school, he was given the choice of being an outfield player or goalkeeper - and agreed to be the goalkeeper because that was what his school needed. Out of such decisions at the age of 15 are legends born.
From his school team he was invited to play at a local amateur team - but he was between the posts when the team suffered a 12-2 drubbing. He was asked if he had a phone - to which the answer was no - and the manager told him he'd ring him if he wanted him to play again.
He went back to his school team but that wasn't the end of his career - and via the Chesterfield youth team, via a victorious army team in his national service years, back to Chesterfield and on to Leicester City - he came to England and the glory year of the World Cup Victory.
He spoke of the matches of that world cup. Of how Alf Ramsey wouldn't let the players swap shirts with the Argentinians. He spoke of the quiet bookish man - who took off his glasses, took out his teeth and became the Nobby Stiles we all remember.
He spoke of his save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup - to Gordon Pele was the greatest player of all time - and to many commentators his save was the greatest goalkeeping save of all time. He told us of how the move built up and his thinking as it happened. He told us of the split seconds he had to look around the area as the cross from Jairzinho came in - and to decide where the danger came from - with Tostao, Rivelino and Pele all possible targets. He told us of his dive to save Pele's header - and how he had to guess just how high the ball would bounce - and he told us how Bobby Moore chided him for pushing the ball away a for corner instead of catching it!
It was great to hear him speak - and not surprising to see him finish to a standing ovation. He would have received it whatever he said.
To a great goalkeeper, a great sportsman and a great Englishman - Thank You Banksy for visiting Kenilworth Golf Club.