Without question Nat Lofthouse’s name is held in the highest possible regard by Bolton Wanderers and the entirety of the fan base and he enjoyed a hugely successful spell on the international stage representing an England side in the decade prior to the solitary World Cup Final victory.
Born in Bolton, ‘Lofty’ as he will be forever affectionately known, came through as a youth player with Wanderers to sign professional forms and of course went onto have a long and successful playing career with his hometown club – including two goals in an FA Cup Final victory against Manchester United in 1958.
Going onto make 503 appearances for Wanderers, Lofthouse still remains the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with 285 goals. With an incredible record of better than a goal every two games, he is 124 goals clear of David Jack who is third on the list; the leading tally is never likely to be surpassed.
On 22 November 1950, he earned his first cap for England and scored twice in a 2-2 draw against Yugoslavia at Highbury, the former home of Arsenal. It was almost a year later when he next found the net for the national team, and once again he scored a brace – this time coming up against Northern Ireland in a 2-0 victory at Villa Park.
His next international goal came in a friendly against Austria at Wembley, and his next double also against Austria was to earn him the nickname: ‘The Lion of Vienna.’ Scoring the opening goal and the winner for the Three Lions at Praterstadion in the Austrian capital Vienna, he played a starring role in the country’s 3-2 victory.
Lofthouse would go onto score goals against Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Belgium, Chile, United States, Uruguay, Scotland, Denmark, Finland and the Soviet Union before his international career came to an end after eight years.
His international record of 30 goals in just 33 appearances gives him one of the best scoring averages of any striker to ever represent the country. The finest footballer to ever hail from the town of Bolton is joint seventh on the list of all-time scorers for England; level with Alan Shearer and Sir Tom Finney. Remarkably, he scored two goals in a game for the Three Lions on 12 occasions.
‘Lofty’ sadly passed away in January 2011 at the age of 85, but his impact at both club level and international level will never, ever be forgotten.
Lofthouse’s England Goals
1 22nd November 1950 vs. Yugoslavia Highbury, London
2 22nd November 1950 vs. Yugoslavia Highbury, London
3 14th November 1951 vs. Northern Ireland Villa Park, Birmingham
4 14th November 1951 vs. Northern Ireland Vila Park, Birmingham
5 28th November 1951 vs. Austria Wembley Stadium, London
6 25th May 1952 vs. Austria Praterstadion, Vienna
7 25th May 1952 vs. Austria Praterstadion, Vienna
8 28th May 1952 vs. Switzerland Hardturm, Zurich
9 28th May 1952 vs. Switzerland Hardturm, Zurich
10 4th October 1952 vs. Northern Ireland Windsor Park, Belfast
11 12th November 1952 vs. Wales Wembley Stadium, London
12 12th November 1952 vs. Wales Wembley Stadium, London
13 24th November 1952 vs. Belgium Wembley Stadium, London
14 24th November 1952 vs. Belgium Wembley Stadium, London
15 24th May 1953 vs. Chile Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago
16 8th June 1953 vs. United States Polo Grounds, New York
17 8th June 1953 vs. United States Polo Grounds, New York
18 10th October 1953 vs. Wales Ninian Park, Cardiff
19 10th October 1953 vs. Wales Ninian Park, Cardiff
20 11th November 1953 vs. Northern Ireland Goodison Park, Liverpool
21 17th June 1954 vs. Belgium St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
22 17th June 1954 vs. Belgium St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
23 26th June 1954 vs. Uruguay St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
24 2nd April 1955 vs. Scotland Wembley Stadium, London
25 2nd April 1955 vs. Scotland Wembley Stadium, London
26 2nd October 1955 vs. Denmark Københavns Idrætspark, Copenhagen
27 2nd October 1955 vs. Denmark Københavns Idrætspark, Copenhagen
28 20th May 1956 vs. Finland Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
29 20th May 1956 vs. Finland Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
30 22nd October 1958 vs. Soviet Union Wembley Stadium, London