Nat Lofthouse passes away
Published : 16 Jan 2011 09:26:06Rss feed
I was saddened this morning to learn of the passing last night of former Bolton Wanderers and England centre forward Nat Lofthouse OBE at the age of 85. Although I met him on one occasion, and found him to be engaging company, I never had the opportunity to see him play but his record for club and country speaks for itself. He scored no less than 285 times for Bolton and for England his record was 30 goals in 33 appearances.One of those England games, and in particular one of those goals, earned him the nickname 'Lion of Vienna'. It was his second in a 3-2 win against Austria in 1952 when he was elbowed, tackled from behind and brought down by the goalkeeper yet still scored.He won the Football of the Year Award in 1953 and scored in that year's FA Cup Final although was on the losing side against Blackpool. He was on the winning side in the 1958 final when he scored both goals in a 2-0 win against the post-Munich Manchester United side. The second that day is often shown as he barged goalkeeper Harry Gregg into the back of the net. Today it would be disallowed; in truth it usually was in 1958.Lofthouse once scored five times at Turf Moor for Bolton schools against Burnley schools in a cup competition. I know the Burnley goalkeeper from that game very well and he's always had immense pride that the centre-forward who proved too good for the Burnley lads that day went on to be a top England footballer. The two of them remained good friends for almost 70 years.A one club man, a great ambassador for Bolton Wanderers and England, it is very sad news indeed to hear of the passing of another great from that era, so soon after Blackburn Rovers lost Ronnie Clayton.Nat died peacefully last night in his sleep at his nursing home. My thoughts and deepest condolences are with Nat's family and friends and Bolton Wanderers Football Club at this time.