Death of an English football great

Bolton legend Lofthouse dies aged 85

January 16, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Former England international Nat Lofthouse OBE has died aged 85, Bolton have announced.

Nat Lofthouse Bolton profile
GettyImagesNat Lofthouse captained Bolton to FA Cup final glory in 1958, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Man Utd

• Bobby Charlton pays tribute to Lofthouse
• Bolton blog: Tribute to Nat Lofthouse

The former Bolton centre forward, who was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 died peacefully in his sleep at his nursing home on Saturday.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside told the club's official website: "On behalf of everyone at Bolton Wanderers Football Club, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Nat's family, who are very much in our thoughts at this time.

"Nat undoubtedly is a Bolton Wanderers legend. He was a one-club man and our football club meant as much to him as he did to us. We will miss him but we will celebrate his life, his legacy and great times that he brought to Bolton Wanderers.''

Lofthouse was a bustling frontman, who earned the moniker the 'Lion of Vienna' after netting one of his 30 goals in 33 appearances for England in a 3-2 victory against Austria in 1952, scoring despite being elbowed in the face, tackled from behind and finally brought down by the goalkeeper.

He scored 255 goals in 452 league games for Bolton and captained them to FA Cup final glory against Manchester United in 1958, scoring both goals as his side overcame a team ravaged by the tragedy of the Munich air disaster months earlier.

Five years earlier he had been named Footballer of the Year but was on the losing side in the the famous 'Matthews Final', getting on the scoresheet but seeing Bolton lose 4-3 after an inspired performance by Blackpool's Stanley Matthews.

After finishing playing, Lofthouse remained at the club in a number of off-field positions including chief coach, chief scout, caretaker manager and club president, in which he remained until his death.

When Bolton moved from their former ground at Burnden Park to their current site at the Reebok Stadium in 1997, they named the new East Stand after Lofthouse.