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Bolton Wanderers’ Highest Goal Scorers XI - The Midfield and Attack

A collection of Bolton’s greatest ever attacking players, who would give even the greatest defences nightmares.

Nat Scores
Lofthouse nets one of his two goals in the 1958 FA Cup Final.
Photo by Ron Burton/Central Press/Getty Images

Part two of bringing together a team of Bolton’s highest goal-scorers brings us to the midfield and attack, well mainly attack lets be honest! Bolton Wanderers have been sorely lacking players with this level of potency in front of goal for, well, as long as I can remember.

This article is slightly more helpful for the highest scorers by position quiz which can be found here, but there are still some gaps to fill.

MF: Steve Thompson - 57 goals

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Bolton Wanderers v Blackpool - Reebok Stadium
Thompson in his role as coach at Blackpool before an FA Cup tie at the Reebok.
Photo by Barrington Coombs - PA Images via Getty Images

Thompson started his career at Bolton in 1982 and would spend 9 years with the club racking up some 400 appearances along the way.

During his first season as a professional Bolton dropped into Division Three for only the second time in the clubs history, and for what would be the clubs third season down there. Bolton failed to finish above tenth in the next four seasons and slid down to Division Four for the clubs only year at that level, until next season comes around.

Bolton bounced straight back to Division Two in 1988. The next season, Thompson played for Bolton in the successful 1989 Football League Trophy final. Thompson left Bolton when they were still a Division Three side in 1991.

At this point he moved to Luton Town, but he failed to make an impact in his short spell with the then Division One side. At this point he joined Leicester City in the new Division One, upon the creation of the Premier League. He stayed with Leicester until 1995 making over 120 appearances as the club won promotion to the Premier League before being relegated in his last year at the club.

After this he had spells at Burnley, Rotherham United and Halifax Town.

Since retiring Thompson has been in coaching with Blackpool, and has been caretaker manager on three separate occasions.

LW: Ted Vizard - 70 goals

Bolton Wanderers FC
Vizard is fourth in from the back of this shot, and the only one not looking at this camera. This was taken of the 1923 FA Cup winning team.
Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Vizard started his senior career with Barry District in 1909. Following this he would move to Bolton in 1910 and enjoy around 20 years with the club. During this time he appeared for his country on 22 occasions.

Vizard was a key member of the Bolton side throughout his time at the club and appeared in all three successful FA Cup final appearances in the 1920s. He retired from football, leaving Bolton, at the age of 41 becoming the oldest player to play for the club. This record has only been surpassed by Peter Shilton.

After retiring Vizard moved into coaching at Bolton before becoming manager at Swindon Town where he spent six years. Following this he moved to Queens Park Rangers who he never actually managed in a competitive match due to the outbreak of World War II. His final managerial stint was a season at Wolverhampton Wanderers who he led to a third place finish in the First Division in the year after the end of the war.

Vizard had a particularly good understanding on the pitch with Joe Smith creating a number of his goals. His creative talents would no doubt have got the most out of both strikers in this team.

Vizard was an outside forward left during his playing career, which was in essence a winger in today’s game.

RW: Willie Moir - 134 goals

Soccer - FA Cup Final - Blackpool v Bolton Wanderers - Wembley
Moir scoring Bolton’s second goal in the 1953 FA Cup final.
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

Moir was born in Scotland but moved down to Bolton in 1945 to pursue a professional football career. He made his debut when football resumed after World War II.

He was one of Bolton main goal threats during the 1940s alongside Nat Lofthouse, and was the clubs top scorer with 25 goals in the 1948/49 season. In 1953 Moir was Bolton captain for the FA Cup final, and was one of Bolton’s goal scorers in that game.

Moir made one appearance for Scotland in 1950, which indicates they must have had a good team during the 1940s given Moir’s goalscoring antics.

He left Bolton in 1955 after 10 years with the club to become player-manager at Stockport County. He played for Stockport around 70 times scoring 25 goals.

Moir was an inside forward right in his day. Though this is not quite a winger, as this was an outside forward, I would expect there to have been an overlapping skill set.

CAM: Ray Westwood - 143 goals

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers - Stamford Bridge Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Westwood started out with Stourbridge in around 1928 before moving to Bolton for a year in which he made no appearances. At this point he moved to Briery Hill Alliance for a year in the non-league system before returning to Bolton.

He played over 300 times for Bolton from 1930 to 1947. During this time he was called up to the England squad playing on 6 occasions between 1934 and 1936. He was a part of the British Home Championship winning squad in 1934/35, which was a joint victory with Scotland.

While at Bolton he had plenty of interest in his services with Chelsea offering £12,000 for his services, which was a fair chunk of cash at the time. Despite this interest he stayed at Bolton, and never really left the area due to business interests.

While at Wanderers he won promotion to Division One in 1935. In addition he won the 1945 Football League War Cup with Bolton in a 2-1 win over Chelsea. This makes Bolton the final winners of the Football League War Cup, which thankfully has never needed to be resurrected. Many consider this competition to have been a continuation of the FA Cup, so it is interesting that this victory is never referred to.

During the war he represented the British Army on several occasions, as he served in the Royal Artillery.

On leaving Bolton Westwood became Chester’s record signing. He spent two years with the club before moving to Darwen where he finished his career.

Westwood was an inside forward when he played. This role sits just behind the striker to support them. Here he would be asked to sit slightly deeper again into an attacking midfield role.

ST: Nat Lofthouse - 285 goals

Soccer - Home International Championship - Scotland v England - Hampden Park, Glasgow
Lofthouse competing for the ball for England vs Scotland.
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

Lofthouse was the one club man, and I will not bother going into much detail on his well known career. He managed a goal approximately every 0.5 games for Bolton and every 1 game for England.

Any conversation about England’s greatest ever striker and goalscorer which does not include this man is not complete.

ST: Joe Smith - 277 goals

Cup Winner
Smith with the FA Cup following the club’s 1926 victory.
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Smith began his footballing life at Crewe Alexandra but would make his professional debut for Bolton in 1908. He remained with the club until 1927, racking up 277 goals, a tally only just beaten by Lofthouse.

He holds the club record for the most goals in a single campaign with 38. His goal scoring antics continued after he left Bolton as he netted 61 times in 70 league games for Stockport.

While at Bolton he won promotion from the Second Division during his debut season and would play in the 1923 and 1926 FA Cup finals, captaining the side in both. This would make him the first man to lift silverware at the Old Wembley.

Smith made five appearances for the national side while at Bolton, scoring once. He played both before and after World War I.

After he left Bolton he moved to Stockport County for two years before becoming player manager at Darwen for a further two years.

When he retired from football he moved into full time management at Reading who he led in the Third Division South building a formidable home record including a 55 game unbeaten run. He would later move to Blackpool who he steered to promotion to the First Division following his appointment 1935. He would serve as manager until 1958, making his crowning achievement an FA Cup final win over Bolton in the Stanley Matthews final. He led Blackpool to their highest ever league finish of second during his 714 games in charge, World War II keeping this number down.