MARTIN SMITH: Two men, one hero, one fool

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TWO men united by a job they both did so brilliantly but divided by their time and personalities.

Nat Lofthouse, fearless and legendary centre forward for Bolton and England was buried this week with tributes to his integrity and decency ringing across the land.

Andy Gray, fearless and legendary centre forward for Everton, Aston Villa, Wolves and Scotland was sacked from his job at Sky TV with derision for his off-air deeds screaming from every newspaper and TV station.

Both men shared a bluntness that made them compelling to listen to but only one of them had the humility to know when not to use that brusque side of his nature.

Nat Lofthouse’s natural modesty allowed him to keep most of his bluntness to self deprecation and humour.

Andy Gray, seemingly untouchable as Sky’s top man, allowed his sureness of touch as an analyst to make him arrogant in other areas and to other people.

For Nat the joke was usually on him, with Andy Gray it was at someone else’s expense.

Talented footballers they may both have been but the gulf in personal class between them is a mile wide.