From the bustling streets of Burnley to the hallowed turf of Turf Moor, Ray Pointer's journey in football was nothing short of extraordinary. Lauded for his relentless style of play, he remains one of the most celebrated figures in the history of Burnley Football Club, especially for his goalscoring exploits during their golden era.
Pointer's initiation into professional football was a rather fortuitous one. Even though Blackpool had shown keen interest, it was Burnley's scout Charlie Ferguson who saw potential in the young striker and convinced him to come to Turf Moor. The decision turned out to be a defining moment in Burnley's post-war era. By the age of 20, Pointer had signed professional terms with the Clarets and made his debut soon after.
Pointer's incredible knack for goal scoring became apparent in his sophomore season. Netting an impressive 27 goals, he etched his name in Burnley's history books. This golden run of form saw him quickly ascend the ranks, earning an England Under-23 call-up and notching two goals against Italy's U-23 side.
Pointer's rich vein of form continued, and he was instrumental during Burnley's 1959/60 Championship-winning campaign, where he contributed 23 goals. His performance at the club level didn't go unnoticed, and he was soon drafted into the senior England team. However, his international stint was brief, spanning three matches during which he scored twice.
The subsequent seasons brought a mix of highs and lows for Pointer. He reached a significant milestone by becoming only the fifth player to score a century of goals for Burnley. Yet, a combination of positional changes, injuries, and competition for places led to him being transferred to Bury for £8,000. This move, however, didn't dampen his goalscoring prowess, as he managed to surpass his best tally at Burnley by netting 28 goals in a season split between Bury and Coventry City.
His journey through the Football League saw further stops at Coventry City, where he helped them gain promotion to the First Division, and then at Portsmouth, where he received a heartfelt reception upon returning to Turf Moor as Portsmouth's captain.
Even after his playing days, Pointer's bond with Burnley remained unbroken. He came back to Turf Moor in a coaching capacity in 1978, a testament to his enduring relationship with the club.
Ray Pointer's story is one of dedication, prowess, and an unwavering love for football. His legacy at Burnley and in English football remains intact, a testament to a player who, in every sense, was a true icon of his era.