Monday, 21 March 2011
312 Steve Banks
Position : Goalkeeper
Played : 2001-02 (on loan from Bolton Wanderers)
Appearances : 15
Goals : 0
Now we're into John Hollins's short reign. It's fair to say the appointment wasn't universally welcomed ( infamously, there was a "Hollins Out" banner before he was even appointed) despite his winning the Division Three title with Swansea just 18 months earlier. I think there was some resistance to a guy who'd spent most of his career in London - he's surely the only manager who will ever have both Rochdale and Chelsea on his c.v. - coming up here and with his dyed hair and chirpy manner he did have the air of a used car salesman about him. But he did what was expected of him in a very short space of time and deserves to be well-remembered for that.
I'm not sure exactly who signed Steve as he was available for Hollins's first game at home to Southend in December 2001. He started out with West Ham and played in an Anglo-Italian Cup tie for them but made his League debut for Gillingham in 1993. Later that year he dropped a bollock against us prompting a "no relation to Gordon" quip from Clive Tyldesley on the TV footage. However he did well enough to attract a £50,000 bid from Blackpool in August 1995 and he made 153 appearances before moving on to Bolton for £50,000 in March 1999. He went straight into the side and played there for the rest of the season but thereafter most of his games were Cup ties and he only made one appearance in the Premiership. Living in Bolton I had heard he was unsettled so it was no surprise that he came to us.
Steve got off to a ropey start letting four in at Kidderminster in his second game but thereafter he was terrific. He wasn't as flashy as Hahneman but had good command of his box and could pull off brilliant reaction saves. He was also very good at time-wasting, slyly instructing the crowd when to give him the ball back. Playing behind a defence that was giving him more and more to do he was another key man in our reaching the play-offs.
Steve was spotted watching us from the terraces after he'd gone back to Bolton and I was hoping he'd return some day but it hasn't happened. He spent the following season on loan first at Bradford then at Stoke who finally signed him in February 2003. However he was released after only playing 4 more games for them, in August 2003. He then signed for MK Dons on a non-contract basis but played 24 games for them before returniing to Gillingham in 2004. He spent just over a year with them before moving north to Hearts in August 2005. Steve was signed as cover but played nearly every game in 2007-08 while also getting involved in the coaching side. Inevitbly this led to conflict with their Russian owner who publicly announced that Steve was not to be trusted. Steve took the hint and joined Dundee United as goalkeeping coach although at 39 he is still registered as a player.