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Nat Lofthouse

Nathaniel Lofthouse, OBE (born 27 August 1925), better known as Nat Lofthouse, is a retired English footballer who played for Bolton Wanderers for his whole career. He was capped 33 times for the England national football team between 1950 and 1958, scoring 30 goals and giving himself one of the greatest goals-per-game ratios of any player to represent England at the highest level.

 

Playing career

Born in Bolton, Lancashire, in 1925, Lofthouse joined the town's main club on 4 September 1939 and made his debut in a wartime 5-1 win against Bury on 22 March 1941 when he scored two goals. It was then more than five years until he made his league debut for the club, but he eventually played against Chelsea on 31 August 1946, when he scored twice in a 4-3 defeat. Lofthouse would go on to play 33 games for England but his debut on 22 November 1950 made him 25 when he finally broke into the team. He perhaps justified a claim to an earlier call-up by scoring both goals in a 2-2 draw against Yugoslavia at Highbury on his debut.

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On 25 May 1952, Lofthouse earned the title 'Lion of Vienna' by scoring twice in England's 3-2 victory over Austria. Back from national team duty, he then scored six goals in a game between the English Football League and the Irish League on 24 September 1952.

In 1953, he was declared English Footballer of the Year and on 2 May that year, he scored a goal - but was on the losing side - in the famous FA Cup Final of 1953 (aka 'The Matthews Final'), having previously scored in each round. That season he topped the First Division goalscoring charts with 30 goals. On 22 October 1958, Lofthouse broke Vivian Woodward's 47-year-old England goalscoring record by netting his 30th goal in a 5-0 win against the Soviet Union in London.

FA Cup controversy

On 3 May 1958, almost five years to the day after losing the 1953 final, Lofthouse captained Bolton in the 1958 FA Cup Final against Manchester United, who three months earlier had been involved in the Munich air disaster. Against a national wave of sympathy for United, Bolton won the game 2-0 with Lofthouse scoring two goals, the second of which was highly controversial and remains a talking point to this day. Lofthouse went into a challenge with the United keeper Harry Gregg and barged him into the net to score as shoulder charging the goalkeeper was a legitimate tactic at the time.

End of playing career

On 26 November 1958, Lofthouse made his final England appearance, against Wales, at the age of 33, and he officially retired from the game in January 1960 because of an ankle injury, although his final league game wasn't until 17 December of that year, when he suffered a knee injury against Birmingham. Lofthouse stands 7th in the all-time top division goalscorers in England.

Coaching and management

After retiring from playing football, Lofthouse became the assistant trainer at Burnden Park on 10 July 1961 and was then appointed chief coach at the club in 1967. In 1968, he spent a brief time as caretaker manager of the club and took over the job full-time on 18 December. Before becoming Bolton's chief scout, he became an administrative manager at Burnden. In 1978, he became the club's executive manager. In 1985, at the age of 60, Lofthouse became caretaker manager at the club again and became president in 1986.

Honours

Lofthouse has been the recipient of various honours since retiring from the game. On 2 December 1989, he was made a Freeman of Bolton. On 1 January 1994, he received an OBE and on 18 January 1997, Bolton decided to name their East Stand at their new Reebok Stadium after him.

Tributes were paid to Nat as he celebrated his 80th birthday, including a party at the Reebok.[1] A campaign, backed by Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association and former Bolton player, has started, aiming to get Nat Lofthouse knighted.[2] Nat Lofthouse was an Inaugural Inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.[3]Miscellaneous

'The Lion of Vienna' is a well known Bolton pub, named in honour of Nat Lofthouse. The pub is situated on Chorley New Road, opposite Bolton School.

The British actor Sean Maguire was rumoured to have been hired to play Lofthouse in a film adaptation of the book Wartime Wanderers, a book about Bolton Wanderers players' efforts during World War II. [4] But the film was never made because of a lack of finance.[5]

References and Notes

Wiki Source

Comments

No mentions is made of the fact that during the second world war Nat was a Bevin Boy' who on many occasions worked his shift down the pit, on a Saturday morning, and then played for the Wanderers in the afternoon - what a player!



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