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Nat Lofthouse statue set for debut 19 months after initial announcement

Douglas Miller

In January 2012, on the one year anniversary of Nat Lofthouse's death, Bolton Wanderers announced that a statue of the Lion of Vienna would be commissioned and ultimately displayed on the grounds of the Reebok Stadium. It has been a long road for the project with a total cost of £100,000 with residents of Bolton and fans of the club contributing over 33% of that total.

On 27 August, 2012, eight months after the project was first announced and on what would have been Lofthouse's 87th birthday, it was revealed that the statue's debut date would be on 27 August, 2013. It would be a birthday debut. The project now has an end date in sight with the initial reveal being pushed ahead slightly. Per a report from the Bolton News, the new statue will be shown off prior to the Queens Park Rangers match at home, scheduled for the 24th of August.

The plinth on which Nat Lofthouse will stand is already present at the Reebok, below:

The project has had an interesting road in terms of fundraising. Appeals have ranged from collections on matchdays to finding corporate sponsors, to brewing special beers. Club chaplain, Phil Mason, who was one of the leads on the project from inception to completion, spoke to the Bolton News about the statue's completion:

"It's going to be incredible to see. It's been quite a journey over the last 18 months.

"What's really been encouraging is the support we've had from the people of Bolton, from choosing the look of the statue through The Bolton News, to helping to raise the money.

"I am delighted that the people of Bolton have contributed so positively to not only the shaping of what the statue was going to be like, but also contributing financially to make it happen and a lasting memorial to Nat as part of the history of this club.

"We hope that is the start of something positive going forward, the fact we did score the first ever Football League goal coinciding with the 125th anniversary and the statue, it couldn't be better.

"It's exciting for me, for the club, and for the people of Bolton."