'Nat Lofthouse would have been so proud of exhibition'
THE Bolton News' deputy head of sport, Gordon Sharrock, worked with Wanderers legend Nat during his career and talks about what the former centre forward meant to the town.
NAT would be bursting with pride.
In fact, somewhere up there in the heavens he will be looking down from his own personal cloud — a sturdy-looking white one with a number nine on the back, of course — with a smile of satisfaction, knowing the glittering prizes — the tokens that marked his achievements playing for his beloved Wanderers and for England — are now showcased in his home town for all to see and appreciate.
It was what he would have wanted — not for himself but for his fellow Boltonians with whom he shared his successes and to whom he was eternally grateful for their support.
‘Lofty’ — as he liked to be known — was one of their own. They took him to their hearts and he took them to his.
He dedicated his second autobiography ‘The Lion of Vienna: Nat Lofthouse — 50 years a legend’: “To the people of Bolton. Without you, none of this would have been possible.”
Nat Lofthouse — one of the most respected and certainly the most feared centre-forwards of his day — left a legacy that sits comfortably alongside the other feted individuals who contributed to Bolton’s rich heritage, and which is certainly not out of place in the company of the likes of Samuel Crompton, who is also honoured in the ‘Bolton Lives’ gallery of the magnificent museum.
He is and always will be, without rival, the town’s number one sporting son — an iconic figure to Boltonians, and not only those whose interest and knowledge stems from their love of football and the Wanderers.
He was also an ambassador for Bolton, playing for his country with honour and distinction — and to great effect, as proved by his 30 goals in 33 England appearances — on home soil and around the world and remained until his death one of the most recognised and best-loved of the old-timers.
Yet, wherever he travelled his greatest pleasure was always coming home. Whatever corner of the globe he was in — as a player or simply a tourist — he yearned to be back home, speaking with genuine fondness of the town hall and its imposing lions.
How appropriate that he was himself honoured as ‘Lion of Vienna’ following his heroic performance in England’s famous 1952 triumph over Austria — a nickname he carried proudly for the rest of his life.
And how fitting that all the significant trophies, caps and memorabilia he collected and treasured down the years have now come home to Bolton and to its townspeople — Nat’s people.
Comments are closed on this article.