Page last updated at 00:48 GMT, Sunday, 13 July 2008 01:48 UK

Save recalled as statue unveiled

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pele joined Gordon Banks for the unveiling

England World Cup winner Gordon Banks admits luck played a part in his famous save from Brazilian footballing legend Pele, who has unveiled a statue of him.

The statue of the ex-England and Stoke City goalkeeper was unveiled at the club's Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu also attended a game between a Banks XI and a Pele XI.

Recalling 1970 and what has been dubbed the greatest save ever, Banks said: "I don't know where it's gone. I really thought it might have been a goal."

Pele joked: "I score more than 1,000 goals in my life, but the goal I don't score they remember."

'Close friends'

The bronze statue of Banks was unveiled at the stadium where a permanent memorial to another Stoke City legend, Sir Stanley Matthews, was placed in 2001.

Former footballers and other celebrities played in the game at the stadium after Saturday's ceremony. Pele emerged victorious, as his team won 5-1 against the Banks XI.

In 1969 the Brazilian legend scored twice against Banks in the city in a friendly involving his side Santos, a year before the famous World Cup save.

Pele said: "We become good friends and close friends in the United States."

Gordon Banks with the statue
Banks said he felt like an adopted son of the city

Banks, who played for Stoke between 1967 and 1972, said the pair have met at various events, mostly in England.

He said: "We've always had a very fond relationship with each other and we have great fond memories as well.

"The people of Stoke-on-Trent have been absolutely marvellous to myself and my family. I do really feel like an adopted son now."

The statue - made by local artist Andrew Edwards - is the brainchild of Irish author Don Mullen who has written a book about the star called The Hero Who Could Fly.

More than 500 church leaders, dignitaries and local people gathered on Friday as Archbishop Tutu started his visit to the city by going to an evening to celebrate Banks.

Archbishop Tutu said watching sport was an inspiration to those in South Africa.

He said: "They (those taking part) helped to make us realise the world wasn't all awful.

"There are good people who could be role models for us and Gordon Banks, yes, one knew this incredible goalkeeper."

The life of another Stoke City legend, the club's all time record goalscorer, John Ritchie, was being remembered on Saturday.

His family organised a golf day to raise money for local dementia charities.

The 65-year-old, who died last year, scored 176 goals in 343 games in two spells with the club between 1962 and 1975.




SEE ALSO
Pele unveils statue of hero Banks
11 Jul 08 |  Staffordshire
Pele will unveil statue of Banks
17 Jan 08 |  Staffordshire

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