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LOSS OF A LEGEND.

SIR BOBBY CHARLTON last night led the tributes to English football legend Nat Lofthouse, who died on Saturday aged 85.

SIR BOBBY CHARLTON last night led the tributes to English football legend Nat Lofthouse, who died on Saturday aged 85.

Lofthouse will forever be revered at Bolton, where he spent his entire career, and was the template for the modern game's battering-ram centre forward.

Lofthouse will forever be revered at Bolton, where he spent his entire career, and was the template for the modern game's battering-ram centre forward.

He scored 255 goals in 450 club appearances and 30 goals in just 33 England caps. Lofthouse, left, lost the 1953 FA Cup Final with Bolton and returned to Wembley five years later to score one of the most controversial goals in the tournament's history.

He scored 255 goals in 450 club appearances and 30 goals in just 33 England caps. Lofthouse, left, lost the 1953 FA Cup Final with Bolton and returned to Wembley five years later to score one of the most controversial goals in the tournament's history.

He had already given the Trotters an early lead when he bundled Manchester United keeper Harry Gregg over the line with a shoulder charge, a legitimate tactic in those days. Although the goal He had already given the Trotters an early lead when he bundled Manchester United keeper Harry Gregg over the line with a shoulder charge, a legitimate tactic in those days. Although the goal stood, and Bolton won 2-0, Lofthouse's challenge did not win universal approval.

Bolton's team coach was stoned as it passed through Manchester on the way home. Yet Charlton, one of his beaten opponents that day, could never condemn his England team-mate.

Charlton said: "He had fantastic ability in the air and was strong but was also a talisman. We played for England together four or five times towards the end of his career and I felt he was our leader, he was the one in charge.

"You have to put him in the same bracket as those two great players either side of him, Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews but they were wingers - Nat got on the end of everything."

Another of Lofthouse's contemporaries, Jimmy Armfield, said: "He was as hard as nails but he was also a lovely man, a one-club man, one of the best."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 17, 2011
Words:391
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