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Lofthouse statue unveiled

Fans look at the new Nat Lofthouse statue outside the Reebok Stadium Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bolton have unveiled a statue of their greatest ever player Nat Lofthouse outside the Reebok Stadium before their clash with QPR.

Lofthouse scored over 250 times in the league for Wanderers and led them to FA Cup glory in 1958, when he netted both goals in a 2-0 win over Manchester United.

The striker, described by those who saw him play as the archetypal old-fashioned centre-forward, spent his entire career with Bolton and transferred his impressive form to the international stage for England, with whom he scored 30 goals in 33 caps.

Nat Lofthouse in 1952 Credit: PA Wire

Lofthouse passed away in 2011 and the club, who have part-funded the statue, commissioned sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn to immortalise an image of him leaving the tunnel with a ball under his arm.

"I think its brilliant," chairman Phil Gartside told Press Association Sport at the official unveiling.

"I've seen pictures of it and now I've seen its full glory it looks fantastic. It's an important day to remember Nat as he was and as he is there now."

The crowd which gathered for the unveiling included fans of all ages and Gartside believes the statue will help future generations understand Lofthouse's influence on the Trotters.

He added: "It brings back those memories, not only for the older people, but encourages people to perhaps learn a bit more about Nat and the club. We like to pride ourselves on being a family club and this is Nat's family."

The base of the statue carries Lofthouse's final words: 'I've got the ball now, it's a bit worn, but I've got it.'

His son, Jeff, added: "Dad still captures people's imagination in Bolton and I think he captures the spirit of Bolton and Bolton Wanderers is still a great club."