Sunday, 16 January 2011


Nat Lofthouse OBE, who has died aged 85, was one of the post-war giants of football.
He made more than 450 appearances for Bolton Wanderers, and earned 33 caps for England.
He was a one-man club to his boots. A local Bolton lad, he was signed as a 14-year-old schoolboy by then-manager Charles Foweraker.
He played football during wartime while working as a "Bevin Boy" coal miner, and became professional in 1946.
But on the day he put pen to the paper, on 4 September 1939, he watched in bemusement as the whole Bolton team boarded military transport to join the war which had been declared the previous day.
By today's standards, the players of this era received what seems like a pittance for their efforts.
Lofthouse was given £10 as his signing-on fee. However, he said "I know £10 doesn't seem much these days but it was four times more than my Dad was getting per week as a coal bagger for the Co-Op."
Lofthouse scored 255 goals for Bolton between 1946 and 1960, being prodigious with both feet and a brilliant header of the ball.
He captained Bolton twice at Wembley, the first time in the memorable so-called Matthews Cup Final of 1953, when Bolton were beaten 4-3 by Blackpool.
Then, five years later, he won a winner's medal after scoring the only two goals in the Cup Final against Manchester United


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