WANDERERS are mourning the legendary Freddie Hill, who has passed away at the age of 81.

Nicknamed ‘God’ by the Burnden Park faithful in a 12-year career at Bolton, Hill was one of the most entertaining and talented wide men to ever feature for the club.

Hill came through the junior ranks at Bolton having been spotted playing junior football in Sheffield and established himself as a first team regular the season after the club had won the FA Cup in 1958, giving a sign of his talent as he scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 win against Chelsea.

He was top scorer in the 1961/62 season and remains the last English Bolton player to score a top-flight hat-trick, doing so against Sheffield United in 1963.

By the time he was 22, his precocious talent had been recognised by England manager Walter Winterbottom and he made his debut in a 3-1 win against Northern Ireland. He featured against Wales soon after but the arrival of Alf Ramsey – whose aversion to wingers and wider players left him out of the picture.

Speaking to The Bolton News in 2010, Hill recalled his time in the international shade.

“Even Tom Finney said in the papers that ‘Fred will be playing for a long time’ but by the next game came around, they had changed the manager to Ramsey and I wasn’t even in the 40,” he said.

“His idea was that he didn’t want anybody to try and beat a man. Well, that was my game.

“He just wanted us to pass it, one or two touch, but I couldn’t do that. It was the making of Alan Ball, though. Now he could work hard.

“They won the World Cup – and some people said it was because I wasn’t playing.”

At the age of 24 he was poised to sign for Liverpool under Bill Shankly, forging a potential wing partnership with another future Wanderer, Peter Thompson – but a medical showed up high blood pressure and blood sugar, which scuppered his chances.

Hill represented Wanderers until 1969, making 412 appearances and scoring 79 goals, before joining Halifax Town for £5,000. Less than a year later he was back in the top division with Manchester City, linking up with former team-mates Franny Lee and Wyn Davies.

He played 35 times for City before joining Peterborough United for another successful spell and finally moving into non-league football.

Sheila Auty, Freddie’s partner, sent on the following message to The Bolton News via her son, Frankie.

“My mum would like to say her partner of 43 years has left a big hole in her life and her family. He will be sadly missed and not forgotten by her and Bolton Wanderers fans forever.”