Nat Lofthouse: Football pays its respects at funeral for late England legend

26 January 2011 06:05
Bolton came to a standstill as thousands turned out to pay their last respects to the town's greatest footballer, England legend Nat Lofthouse.

The renowned Wanderers centre forward, known as the 'Lion of Vienna', died on January 15 at the age of 85.

Leading the way: Bolton boss Owen Coyle joins the pallbearers carrying the coffin of legend Nat Lofthouse during the memorial service at the Bolton Parish Church

His funeral service at Bolton Parish Church was attended by more than 500 invited guests as well as members of the public.

Speakers were also erected so that thousands more could listen and pay tribute to a man who scored 255 goals in 452 league appearances for his hometown club and 30 in 33 gamesfor England.

Packed out: Mourners watch as the coffin arrives at Bolton Parish Church

Eulogies were offered by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside and Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor, a boyhood Bolton fan and former Wanderers player.

Current Trotters captain Kevin Daviesand manager Owen Coyle were among the men who carried the coffin along with Wigan owner Dave Whelan, a contemporary player.

Paying their respects: Sir Alex Ferguson was joined at the service by Fulham boss Mark Hughes, Sir Trevor Brooking, ex-Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale and former Aston Villa owner Doug Ellis

Davies, also a centre forward, said: 'I can't compare myself to someone like him. I have seen clips of him asa player and from living in the town and speaking to people he was an absolutely amazing footballer.

'He was an amazing person as well. Hehad a lot of time for people at the club and in the town and we'll misshim.'

Mark of respect: Chelsea captain John Terry and Bolton skipper Kevin Davies present wreaths in memory of Nat Lofthouse at the Reebok Stadium on Monday night

After the service the funeral cortegetravelled through town to huge applause before going on to a private committal.

Many prominent figures from the footballing world were in attendance including Sir Tom Finney, Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton.

A guard of honour was formed by surviving members of the 1958 FA Cup final team, whom Lofthouse captained to a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Wembley, scoring both goals himself.Lofthouse also led the team in defeat at Wembley in 1953.

Legend and a leader: Lofthouse inspired Bolton to victory in the FA Cup final in 1958

Other former Bolton managers to attend included Jimmy Armfield, Bruce Rioch, Colin Todd and Sam Allardyce.

Armfield said: 'He was probably one of the best centre forwards England every had, very aggressive and combative with great speed.

'He was everything a centre forward should be and was a great one-club man. The two words Lofthouse and Bolton go together. This is a great send-off for him - he'd have liked it, I'm sure.'

VIDEO: Stars line up to pay respects at Lofthouse funeral Owen Coyle: Bolton legend Nat Lofthouse would have been too expensive to play in the Premier League Lofthouse family 'overwhelmed' by support after Lion of Vienna's deathSteve Curry pays tribute to Nat Lofthouse, Lion of Vienna, 1925- 2011A strong and loyal leader: Charlton leads tributes to late Bolton legend Nat

 Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Gordon Taylor, Sam Allardyce, Owen Coyle, Kevin Davies, Dave Whelan, Colin Todd, Bruce Rioch, Jimmy Armfield Places: Vienna, United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail

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