FORMER Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool and England striker Roger Hunt has passed away at the age of 83.

The World Cup winner, a boyhood Bolton fan who idolised Nat Lofthouse and who would eventually be brought back to Burnden Park by his hero in the autumnal years of his playing career, died on Monday after a long illness.

Hunt is Liverpool’s second-highest goal-scorer of all time, having netted 285 times in 492 matches for the Reds between 1958 and 1969.

He was part of Sir Alf Ramsey’s side which lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1966, scoring three times in the competition. In total he scored 18 goals in 34 games for his country.

The Bolton News:

He left Anfield in 1969 to help try and rejuvenate the fortunes of his beloved Bolton, who had toppled out of the top-flight.

The club struggled with financial problems under the stewardship of the legendary Nat Lofthouse, who had seen his distinguished playing career ended by injury. But Hunt managed to play for three full seasons, helping to bring through a new generation of Wanderers players before eventually announcing his retirement in 1972.

On the pitch, times were tough for Bolton. And in 1971/72 they fell into the third tier of English football for the first time, with Hunt finishing the campaign as top scorer.

But the impact he made on younger players like John Byrom – who shared the striking spotlight at Burnden in those days – was considerable.

The Bolton News:

“He was bloody brilliant,” Bryom told The Bolton News. “Good company, someone who if he liked you, you knew it, but if he didn’t like you he didn’t make a song and dance about it.

“Out on the pitch he was a big help to me. If I’d missed a chance he would take me to one side and say: ‘Oi, take your time, another one will be along in a minute.’ “I was his room-mate and you’d be preparing for a game and I’d tell him: ‘Eh, I’m one away from my 50th goal today. And he’d answer back: ‘You’ve got a long way to catch me, lad!’

“He was a good friend and even though he was a big name, probably cost a few bob, he wasn’t that sort of fella. You would have never known he played for England, won a World Cup and scored all those goals for Liverpool. He was just a regular bloke.”

In all, Hunt scored 24 times in 76 appearances for Wanderers and also had a loan spell playing in South Africa with Hellenic.

After finishing his playing career Hunt joined his family’s haulage business but maintained links with the game via the Pools Panel, which he served for more than 30 years.

Although he was made an MBE in 2000 Hunt was controversially overlooked for a knighthood, prompting Liverpool fans to refer to him as “Sir Roger” ever since.

The Bolton News:

When he idol Lofthouse passed away in 2011, Hunt was one of the former players selected to form a guard of honour, alongside the likes of Peter Reid and Frank Worthington.

He maintained contact with the club into his later years, linking up with another former Wanderer, Gordon Taylor, to meet with the Supporters’ Association at a special event in 2007.

He also joined his family for a private celebration a few years ago to celebrate his 80th birthday at the UniBol.

Despite his ill-health, Hunt also joined good friend Tommy Banks for his birthday celebrations in November 2019, held at Farnworth Social Circle Cricket Club.

The Bolton News: