Poem – Gordon Banks

THE WORLD CUP
I did have an idea to celebrate 40 years since 1966. I wanted to get 11 poets to write 11 poems about the team of ’66. However, I couldn’t get a publisher or sponsor interested, so in the end I wrote a series of poems myself. They are everyman recollections that try and capture something of the men, the magnitude, the mood and the memories. You can click on the names on the image to see the poems.

THE BANKS OF ENGLAND
( For Gordon Banks )

True, you were part of that team,
Part of history and sixty six,
A World Cup Winner and medal holder
But we cannot think of you
Without bringing to mind
Your save of the century four years later.

For many, it was this
That defined you as Gordon,
Safe as the Banks of England.

Permanently etched on the memory of a generation
We still gasp in awe and admiration at the replays.
It still seems unbelievable that the ball did not get past you.
How you clawed it away we will never know.

But you did
And the great Pele was as amazed as the rest of us.
Seemingly goalbound, seemingly unstoppable
And yet that is exactly what you did.

You stopped it,
And in that moment time you stopped time
Because the snapshot we have of you is of that frozen moment,
Crystal clear, in the Mexican heat.

Gordon Banks – Save of the Century.

PAUL COOKSON