Former players, fans and officials of Burnley Football Club have paid touching tributes to Clarets legend Ray Pointer who died this week.
The centre-forward, affectionately known as “the blond bombshell”, was the club’s second highest all-time goalscorer and a key figure in the team that was crowned champions of England in 1960.
Former player and chief executive Paul Fletcher described Pointer as “the David Beckham of his time”.
He said: “Ray will always be syonymous with that great Burnley Football Club team of 1960.
“He will be remembered as the main goalscorer of that amazing team in the glory days.
“The fact that he had blond hair and was a great goalscorer made him instantly recognisable. In many ways, he was the David Beckham of his generation.
“Whenever I met him, I found him to be an absolute gentleman, very quiet and not at all boastful. He was just a gem and will be sadly missed.”
Pointer’s strike partner in the title-winning team, Jimmy Robson, remembered fondly the potent partnership they forged and how the pair became good friends on and off the pitch.
Jimmy, who also hails from the North-East, said: “We formed a partnership and we were the type of players who relied on each other to get in goal scoring positions.
“Ray was a determined player who would chase what looked like a lost cause, balls to the by-line, and he would always get there.
“He was a good player and a good man. We all got on together. John Connelly, John Angus, Adam Blacklaw, Ray and I were the young lads of the team and we used to go out together in Burnley.”
Former Burnley centre-forward and current Southampton player Charlie Austin tweeted his own tribute on hearing the news of Ray’s death.
He said: “From one goalscorer to someone I proudly share a scoring record with, sorry to hear the news that Burnley legend Ray Pointer has died.”
Television and radio personality Tony Livesey said Pointer and his teammates had built the foundation for Burnley Football Club today.
He said: “I wasn’t born when that great team won the league in 1960, but Ray was one of the legends on which Burnley Football Club was built.
“I actually played against him in the 1980s when I was a young journalist. I was playing in defence and remeber thinking I would have him in my pocket – he absolutely ran me ragged. He tore me to shreds.
“Ray was a lovely man and was also my dad’s favourite player.”
Pointer played at Turf Moor from 1957 to 1964, and was the second top goal-scorer with 19 goals in that memorable 1959-60 championship-winning season.
He went on to make 270 appearances for the Clarets scoring 132 goals, and also won three England caps, scoring two international goals in 1961.
See Friday’s Express for a full tribute piece and more pictures.