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On Tuesday of this week the sad news reached us of the passing of our former great Ray Pointer after a long battle against illness and tomorrow Burnley fans are planning to pay tribute to him with a minute’s applause.

Pointer, of course, never played at the Emirates Stadium, but he certainly played just a few minutes walk away at Highbury and I’m sure it would have been a ground he remembered with great affection.

He scored two hat tricks for Burnley, both of them away from Turf Moor. The second of them was in a 6-2 win at Birmingham in September 1961 but ten months before that, on 17th December 1960, he scored three of our goals in a 5-2 win against Arsenal at Highbury with our other goals that day coming from the two inside-forwards Jimmy McIlroy and Jimmy Robson.

On 28th September 1961, twelve days after that Birmingham hat trick, Pointer scored again at Highbury, but this time it wasn’t for Burnley. It was the occasion of his England debut and he scored in a 4-1 win. He opened the scoring for England on that occasion when further goals came from Dennis Viollet and then two from Bobby Charlton.

Burnley Football Club, I’m sure, will be planning something ahead of the home game against Hull, but our fans are wishing to take part in a minute’s applause once the clock has reached nine minutes in the first half tomorrow; nine chosen for the reason that it was the shirt number most often worn by Pointer.

I was asked this week by a friend of mine who is not a Burnley supporter just how good Pointer was. I just simply told him: “We’ve lost one of our greats.”

My thoughts remain with his two sons and daughter Stephen, Ann-Marie and Jonathan, his grandchildren and other family and friends.

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