Exhibition: Nat Lofthouse: A Celebration, Bolton Museum, Bolton, until October 29 2011
Loyalty in football is a notion long forgotten since the inception of the Premier League at the start of the 1990s.
Complainants still surprised by the mercenaries who take full advantage of the modern game’s riches will be soothed by this exhibition full of memories from the career of Nat Lofthouse, a true hero who might as well have slept in the stands at Bolton Wanderers, where he went from pre-war youth teamer to manager, scout, president and Freeman of the city.
His first-team days, between 1946 and 1960, saw the striker score 255 goals, continuing his potency on the international stage by netting 30 goals in 33 appearances for England, a goals-to-games ratio which remains unsurpassed.
Nicknamed the Lion of Vienna for a goal against Austria scored as he was being elbowed and scythed to the ground from just about every angle, Lofthouse also led Wanderers to cup final wins, earned an OBE in 1994 and had a stand proudly named after him at the club’s Reebok Stadium, where he saw the side become a top flight force to be reckoned with before his death in January 2011.
As locals turned out in numbers to pay their respects, Bolton Museum added this homage to their programme for the year, helped by Lofthouse’s family.
“We were only to pleased to assist and provide some of our father’s memorabilia,” says Jeff Lofthouse, Nat’s son.
“My sister, Vivien, and I would like to thank Bolton Museum for their efforts in bringing this exhibition to the town centre and making it available to the football fans and people of Bolton.
“We hope that, like us, people visiting will feel as proud of his achievements as he was in representing his one and only town and club, as well as his country.”
The room at the museum is full of photos and pieces attesting to a remarkable football man, backed by the club he remains a folkloric part of.
“To be able to share this is fantastic,” says Wanderers Chairman Phil Gartside. “Thanks must go to Nat's family for their generosity in enabling it to happen by providing such a wealth of memorabilia.
“The exhibition is a fitting celebration of Nat and all that he achieved for Bolton Wanderers and England.”
- Open 9am-5pm (except Sunday). Admission free.