Association Vice Chairman Billy Bell went to the races in Staffordshire last Sunday -and who should he see there but former Leicester City, Stoke City and England goalkeeper Gordon Banks.
Visiting Uttoxeter Race Course for their ‘Family Fun Raceday’ Billy may not have backed too many winners on the day but certainly managed to bump into a 1966 England World Cup winner for a chat!
As Billy said, ‘I met Gordon Banks at Uttoxeter races on Sunday, lovely man. He had fond memories of playing at Highfield Road and wishes the City well for the upcoming season’ .
Gordon, who is now 78, was happy to chat and remember his time as one of, if not the best shop-stopper of his day. After starting at Chesterfield FC in 1958, Gordon made nearly 300 league appearances for the Filbert Street club between 1959-67 and nearly 200 in the Potteries between 1967-72 before finishing his career in the USA. As Billy said, he remembers several of the tussles his teams had with the Sky Blues over the years. A brief summary follows, for the record.
Mr Bank’s first game against the Sky Blues and the only one in the Leicester City jersey was at Highfield Road in December 1964. Then, in the League Cup, class told and second Division CCFC went down to an ignominious 8-1 home defeat to the Division 1 club. CCFPA member George Hudson got the Sky Blues consolation that night and ‘iron man’ centre half George Curtis also unluckily conceded an own goal.
Gordon’s top level meetings with CCFC were all with Stoke City, starting in 1967-68, CCFC’s first ever Division 1 season, when over Easter, Noel Cantwell’s men got a 2-0 win at Highfield Road with goals from Neil Martin (sadly no longer with us) and current CCFPA member John Tudor followed by a 3-3 draw at the Victoria Ground (goals from former CCFPA member, the late Ernie Hannigan, current CCFPA member Willie Carr and Martin) .
The following season Gordon was in again the Stoke side again both when the Sky Blues got a 3-0 victory in Stoke (a brace from former CCFPA member, the late Tony Hately and Martin again) and a 1-1 draw (Carr) at Highfield Road. In 1969-70 Stoke won all the points and five goals across the two fixtures and we failed to score against Banks. In 1970-71 our member, our recently departed member John O’Rourke beat Gordon in a 1-0 win at Highfield Road (but Gordon missed Stoke’s 2-1 home win).
In the first game of the 1971-72 season an Ernie Hunt header earned a Highfield Road 1-1 draw but the Sky Blues failed to beat Gordon in a 1-0 defeat at the Victoria in October. The last time Gordon faced the Sky Blues was in September 1972 at Highfield Road when a brace from Willie Carr ensured a 2-1 home win!