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Sad news reached us this morning with the passing of Ray Pointer, one of our greats from the 1959/60 Championship team, our post-war record goalscorer and former England international.

Pointer was in the first Burnley team that I ever saw play, not only that, he scored the first goal I ever saw Burnley score in a first team game, giving us a 1-0 lead against Manchester United in a 5-3 win in October 1960.

Ray with wife Marilyn on the occasion of their golden wedding Pic courtesy of Burnley Express
Ray with wife Marilyn on the occasion of their golden wedding
Pic courtesy of Burnley Express

That was no surprise. He was an outstanding goal scorer and when he left the club he’d netted no fewer than 118 in 223 league games with a further 15 goals in 42 domestic cup ties.

We often talk about players from different eras, trying to compare them, and how they would fit in to the football of different eras. Only recently I was involved in such a discussion when Pointer’s name was introduced and he was considered a player of the 1960s whose style would match perfectly the way we play today.

He was an all action player. He would chase and close down defenders all day long and add that goalscoring prowess to that, you do wonder how on earth he only played three times for England. He scored twice in those games including one in the 2-0 win against Portugal at Wembley in October 1961 that ensured our place in the 1962 finals in Chile; his Burnley team mate John Connelly getting the other.

His Burnley debut came in October 1957 at Luton; seven days later he scored on his home debut in a 6-0 win against Sunderland. His final game for us was at Sunderland in November 1964 but by then injuries had taken their toll.

He moved on to Bury, Coventry and then Portsmouth where, as a 36-year-old, he captained them at Turf Moor against us. I can’t recall any former Burnley player ever getting a reception from the Turf Moor crowd anything like it.

ray pointer 300x500It was no surprise; Ray Pointer had been a very special player for Burnley, playing in a very special team. He was a real crowd favourite and certainly with the ladies who loved the centre forward with the blond hair.

Ray returned to Burnley in the latter part of the 1970s, brought in to coach the reserves when Harry Potts returned as manager; he’d previously coached for Potts at Blackpool. He later held a coaching role at Bury before retiring from the professional game.

In early 2010, I’d intended inviting him, and his former championship winning team mates to a dinner, but I was told then he would not be well enough to attend. The last time I saw him was on the occasion of Connelly’s funeral just over three years ago. By then he’d lost his wife Marilyn.

Ray Pointer passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in the early hours of this morning. It’s news that has saddened me very much as one of my heroes has left us.

My thoughts at this time are very much with his three children Stephen, Ann-Marie and Jonathan along with his six grandchildren.

Rest in peace Ray – a true Burnley legend.

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