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Ray Pointer

by Mick Cain

(image credit: Burnley Football Club)

RAY Pointer won three England caps whilst at Burnley, scoring two goals for his country.

He won his first cap on 28 September 1961 in a 4–1 win against Luxembourg and scored in that match. His other England goal was against Portugal.

Pointer, who was born in Cramlington in Northumberland, died recently in a nursing home in Blackpool at the age of 79. He had a long and successful playing career, totalling over 400 league appearances whilst playing for Burnley, Bury, Coventry City, Portsmouth and Waterlooville.

A striker, he started his career with the Clarets in 1957 and was part of their 1959-60 First Division title-winning side.

He went on to score 132 goals in 270 games for the club and is Burnley’s second highest goalscorer of all-time.

Pointer returned to Turf Moor as youth-team manager in 1978.

He was with the Clarets, during their most successful period in post war history and his style of badgering and harassing opposition defences helped him to become one of Burnley’s greatest goalscorers.

Burnley scout Charlie Ferguson had persuaded a young Pointer to go for a trial at Turf Moor, and Burnley offered him an amateur contract right under the noses of Blackpool, who had also had the promising striker on trial.

In 1957, at just 20, Burnley offered him professional terms.

Pointer made his Burnley debut that same season, replacing Alan Shackleton in the first team at Luton Town.

His next season was to be possibly his most prolific as a Burnley player, when he scored 27 goals, a feat only bettered by Willie Irvine in post war football.

This prompted his selection into the England Under 23 team, when he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Italy Under 23s. During the 1959/60 Championship winning season Pointer continued to score goals, notching 23.

In 1961 he played three games for the full England side, scoring against Hungary and Portugal, during the World Cup qualifiers, but he missed out on the 1962 World Cup side, and never played for England again.

In the 1961/62 season he became only the fifth player to score 100 goals for the club, whilst on his way to an overall tally of 25 for the season.

The season after saw Andy Lochhead take Pointer’s number 9 shirt, but Pointer moved position and carried on scoring goals.

Then injury struck, and left him struggling to regain his place in the first team and he was sold to Bury for £8,000 in August 1965 after playing his last game for the Clarets against Sunderland.

He didn’t last very long at Bury before moving to Coventry City, but during that season he scored 28 goals – 17 for Bury, and 11 for Coventry City – eclipsing the 27 scored in 1958/59 for Burnley.

After helping Coventry win promotion to the First Division he moved to Portsmouth where he ended his career, but before that, during Burnley’s Second Division Championship-winning campaign of 1973/74, Pointer was named captain for Portsmouth in an emotional game at Turf Moor, which Burnley won 4-0.

He returned to Burnley in a coaching role under Harry Potts in 1978 and left when John Bond took over at Turf Moor.