The Passing of a Hero
The funeral of Gordan Banks OBE, England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper, who died Feb 13th, at the age of 81, was attended by his greatest fan, Irishman, author and humanitarian Don Mullan. Don was invited along with Sir Geoff Hurst to give a eulogy at the funeral.
Derry-born Mullan is probably best known for his book ‘Eyewitness Bloody Sunday’, which many believe was major contributor to the establishment of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that opened in 2000. He also published a memoir, entitled ‘Gordon Banks – A Hero Who Could Fly’, in which he outlines the extraordinary influence he had on his life.
In this interview with Miriam Gormally he tells the extraordinary story of a raid on his house by British soldiers that turned into amazement and awe when they saw that the young Mullan had one of the most comprehensive scrapbooks to his hero, along with his signature.
Don also credits Banks for keeping him on the straight and narrow at a very vulnerable time in his life and as he said in the eulogy to his hero,
“Unknown to him, he helped save a young fan from making choices that had brought too much sorrow and sadness to Irish and British alike.
“Who knows? Perhaps it was his best save ever.”