FOR the last four years, Matt Clough has lived and breathed Nat Lofthouse.

His new book “Lofty” promises to give a generation of Wanderers supporters a fresh insight into a player widely regarded as the finest ever to pull on a Bolton shirt.

Charting his rise from the Castle Hill school team to Burnden Park via the mines, Clough hopes to add an extra dimension to material which had previously been published on the great man.

“Nat was an ordinary man on the street who went on to do extraordinary things,” he told The Bolton News. “Being as polite as possible about the biographies which were printed in his lifetime, they did not extend much beyond the bare facts.

“I could imagine it being quite a frustrating experience writing with him because he scoffed at the idea of being a celebrity. There would have been stuff he didn’t want to mention.

“Fans of my age never got to see him play, never got to see him when he was a central figure at the club, so I wanted to show that he was something more than the bulldozing centre-forward who scored that second goal against Manchester United, or the someone who had such an undying devotion to Bolton Wanderers.

“My fiancée jokes that I can eat a meal or discuss a shopping list without bringing it back to the 1954 World Cup or something that is Lofthouse-related, but having spent four years now on the project I can honestly say I enjoyed it and I almost feel as if I know him.”

Wanderers fans will know the key points in Lofthouse’s career, the disappointment at Wembley in 1953 followed by the joys of 1958, how he earned the nickname ‘Lion of Vienna’ playing for his country in Austria.

There has been less analysis, however, of Lofthouse’s later career at Bolton, from his difficulties as a manager, the heartbreak of his departure as chief scout and the vital role he played in saving the club from ruin in the 1980s.

Plundering the archives of the Bolton Evening News, Clough has managed to construct a detailed and sometimes very frank account of the highs and the lows.

“I wanted to put a little more flesh on the bones,” he said. “It was only by going back and looking at the reports of the time that I was able to correct errors in my original script but also expand on things like transfer requests, which people perhaps do not know about.

“I did my best to explain that transfer requests were not the same as they are in this day and age, where they are more of a definitive statement.

“Back then because contracts were different it was more of a bargaining tool, or a way to voice your discontent.”

The foreword for the book is written by John McGinlay and was assembled on a night on which Wanderers fans gathered around Nat’s statue at the stadium to make a stand against the way their club was being run.

“I actually interviewed John just before the West Brom game, moments before he went over to lead the protests against Ken Anderson,” he said. “Hearing the wonderful stories he told about Nat were bittersweet because we knew we were about to go over and make a point about the dreadful state of Nat’s club.

“At the end of the book I make the point that John is perhaps the only player close to matching Nat in terms of his reputation with the fans and his impact he made.

“It was fantastic to hear from him and I genuinely thank him for his time.”

“Lofty” is available to pre-order in hardback, priced at £20, from Amazon and all good local bookshops. It can also be bought on Kindle and other e-readers.