Stoke City legend Gordon Banks has backed his former side to push for Europe this season having been mightily impressed by Mark Hughes’ quiet revolution at the Britannia Stadium.
The 1966 World Cup winner played a central role in Stoke’s first trophy win, the 1972 League Cup which lead him to be named FWA Footballer of the Year, but was cruelly robbed the chance to compete in Europe the next season due to his career-ending eye injury.
With the signing of former Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic and reported interest in talents such as Nathan Redmond and Oussama Assaidi, there is potentially plenty of pace and excitement set to line-up for the team next season.
And Banks felt this added extra could make all the difference this season. The former shot stopper admitted he could barely wait for the new season and felt that Hughes may just take the club to another level.
“If they start the season like they ended the last one I think there is a really good chance for them to have a fantastic season,” said Banks, who was speaking as an ambassador at the StreetGames Football Pools Fives programme which takes football to underprivileged young people in the UK.
“I’m delighted with the players they are bringing in and the ones they are supposed to be looking at. The way we finished last season and the work being done now it is a really exciting time.
“I don’t think Europe is too far for them to think about if they continue to play like they did at the end of last season. I think they have a really good chance. Tony did a good job but the style was never going to see us get better.
“Mark has brought in a different more attractive style with keeping possession and going forward and I think if we keep progressing we have a great chance.”
Gordon Banks is a supporter of the StreetGames Football Pools Fives, a programme that takes football to young people in disadvantaged communities across the UK. Go to: http://www.streetgames.org/footballpoolsfives/