Former Blues striker passes away
Portsmouth Football Club are mourning the death of Ray Pointer, who has passed away at the age of 79.
It was somewhat of a celebrity signing when the former England international rocked up at Fratton Park in 1967.
Aged 30, the fair-headed forward had probably seen better days, but he came to George Smith’s mid-table second division side with a tremendous pedigree.
He had contributed 19 goals for the Burnley outfit that claimed the top-flight title in 1959/60.
A tally of two goals in three appearances for his country was further proof that Pointer knew where the net was at the highest level.
He found his way to Pompey via spells at Bury and Coventry, where he struck a further 30 goals before spending six years on the south coast.
Ray could not help the Blues climb out of the second tier, but was able to find the target 31 times in 166 appearances.
Many fans attributed the club’s failure to win promotion in 1967/68 to the striker breaking his leg in a crucial clash with Birmingham at Fratton Park.
A top two finish looked the likely scenario for much of the campaign, but in Pointer’s absence, they eventually limped into fifth position.
He had appeared in all but one game up to that point and his loss from an 18-man squad was felt, with Pompey winning just three of their final 11 games.
Even so, the club’s very first ‘Player of the Season’ award went to Ray, whose 10 goals were eclipsed only by Albert McCann.
A further seven followed as the side finished 15th the following campaign, while Pointer also featured in big FA Cup clashes with Tottenham (1967), Fulham and West Brom (1968), and Arsenal (1971).
His late substitution against the latter – the eventual double winners – was greeted by a standing ovation by nearly 40,000 spectators.
As Pointer grew older, his game time and strike rate naturally declined. His last goal came in a 1-1 draw at Brighton on Easter Monday in 1973.
He later joined Blackpool – where his career began as an amateur – taking up the role of youth team coach.
Former Blues team-mate Nicky Jennings told The News: “He was a class act – a terrific player and a really nice man who I had enormous respect for.
“At Pompey he was past his best and had about 10 bits of bandages on both ankle – yet was one of the best I ever played with.”
Portsmouth Football Club would like to send their deepest condolences to Ray’s family and friends.