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Banks lambasts FA over treatment of 1966 World Cup winners


London (AFP) – England’s 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks says he hopes if Gareth Southgate’s team lift the trophy, the Football Association will look after the players better than they did his generation.

The 80-year-old told the Daily Telegraph newspaper he and his teammates have never felt they received proper recognition after beating West Germany 4-2 at Wembley.

England are two wins away from winning the trophy for just the second time in their history despite low expectations going into the tournament in Russia. They play Croatia in the semi-finals in Moscow on Wednesday.

“I hope if these guys succeed they feel more appreciated by the FA than we were,” said Banks. “They should be. They will have deserved it.

“The FA have done nothing for us. I have been very disappointed with the FA and what they could have done for us.”

Banks was capped 73 times but his top-flight career was ended when he lost sight in his right eye following a car crash in October 1972.

His most famous save came in a 1970 World Cup group match against eventual champions Brazil, when he somehow got down to his right to keep out a Pele header.

Banks said he and his teammates had been forced to sell memorabilia to make ends meet.

“In my case it was my shirt,” he said. “That was 10 or 15 years ago. I still have the medal.”

Banks added that even reunions were organised by their hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst instead of the FA. But the players have stopped meeting after various deaths and for reasons of ill health.

“We used to be able to get together ourselves, which Geoff Hurst organised,” Banks said. “We did that for a good few years but so much has happened to the players now.  

“A few suffer from Alzheimer’s, a few others we have lost. Geoff had to stop it. We all felt sad about that.”

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