Two former Coventry City centre-forwards passed away this week. One, Ken Satchwell, was a very popular player in the late 1950s and early sixties and scored 24 goals in 75 appearances for the club. The other, Ray Pointer, made his name as a top international player before arriving at Highfield Road in 1965 but played a small but important role in Jimmy Hill's Sky Blue revolution, scoring 13 goals in 32 games.
Ken passed away on Sunday night after a serious illness just a week after his 76th birthday. He was a Ricoh regular until recently and a popular supporter of the Former Players Association. Older City fans will remember Ken scoring four goals in a 5-3 home win over Wrexham on Christmas Day 1959 – the last time City played a league game on the 25th December. The following day in the return at the Racecourse Ground Ken scored another two goals in a 3-1 win to notch a Christmas double for the Bantams.
Born in Birmingham in 1940, Ken was prodigious schoolboy player with Erdington Boys and played as an amateur for both Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, playing regularly and scoring prolifically for the Villa youth team. In 1956 he played alongside Ron Atkinson as Villa beat City 4-0 in the FA Youth Cup.
When the time came for professional contracts Villa were reluctant and Ken started playing for works side SU Carburettors and scored over 100 goals in the Birmingham Works League. With the top clubs' scouts circling Ken signed amateur forms with City and Wolves. When the Football League pointed out that he could only sign for one club he plumped for City.
He was an amateur when he made his debut on the left wing at Oldham in a Division Four game in August 1958. He played 15 games in City’s promotion-winning team that season and scored one goal, a 90th minute headed winner in a top of the table clash with Millwall in October.
The following season Ken, although still a raw 19-year old, became a regular, playing alongside journeyman striker Ray Straw as City came close to a second successive promotion. Straw netted 20 goals and Ken 15, in 28 games, earning the nickname of Satch the Snatch.
His feat of scoring four goals against Wrexham on Christmas Day was described by Nemo:
'The star performance was undoubtedly that of 19 years old Satchwell, the boy that has played mostly on the wing but who insists that centre-forward is his ideal position. His eye for goal, quickness to move into the open space and his finishing ability give more promise of feats to come – and his improvement over the past couple of months has been little short of astonishing.'
After Jimmy Hill took over in November 1961 Ken struggled to get a game but did score a brace in a good 3-2 victory at Peterborough. The arrival of Terry Bly and Hugh Barr spelt the end of Ken's City career and his final appearance was in a 5-1 League Cup defeat at Portsmouth.
A few years ago Ken spoke to me about his time under JH:
‘I was injured at the time and missed the Kings Lynn game. I was on the treatment table at Highfield Road being treated by trainer Wilf Copping when someone walked in and told us Billy Frith had been sacked and Jimmy Hill was taking over. Wilf was sacked too and had to clear all his gear out there and then.’
‘I never really got on with Jimmy and the club put me up for sale. Derby and Barnsley wanted me to sign but I didn’t want to move from Birmingham so I joined Nuneaton Borough, who offered to pay my benefit.’
Ken scored prolifically for Borough and helped them to the Southern League Championship in his first season. His feats attracted league scouts again and Walsall paid £1,200 for his signature in January 1965. In three seasons for the Saddlers he scored eight goals in 63 games, playing on the right wing before a slipped disc forced him to retire, although he did play briefly for non-league Wellington Town and Stourbridge.
After hanging up his boots he found employment at British Leyland as a machine tool operator, moving later to Land Rover at Solihull. He lived in retirement at Tamworth.
His funeral will take place at 11.00am on Thursday 4th February at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium followed by reception at the Tamworth Arms, Tamworth.
Ray Pointer passed away peacefully on Tuesday in a Blackpool hospital at the age of 79. Prior to the First Division days it was unusual for Coventry City to sign international players, especially England internationals. In December 1965 however Jimmy Hill signed Ray Pointer, the ‘blond bombshell’ who had terrorised First Division defences with Burnley less than five years previously and won three England caps in 1961.
Born in Cramlington in the North East in 1936, he signed for Burnley in 1956 after previously having trials with Blackpool. In his first full season Ray scored 27 league goals – the best haul by a Burnley player in 30 years and was rewarded with an England under-23 cap in Milan and his two goals helped England to a 3-0 win. He was building a reputation as a fast, brave and deadly centre-forward who would run all day in the cause of the club.
Burnley were one of the top sides in the country at that time with players such as Jimmy McIlroy, John Connelly and Jimmy Adamson and in 1959-60 they lifted the League Championship, pipping Wolves in a dramatic final game at Maine Road. Ray played in every game and notched 23 goals. Another 26 goals followed the next season and in October 1961 his displays finally earned him a full England cap. He scored on his international debut, a 4-1 victory in a World Cup qualifying game with Luxembourg and won two further caps that autumn against Wales and Portugal. Despite scoring again versus Portugal he was dropped and was surprisingly not included in the 1962 World Cup party.
That season Burnley were probably at their peak and for a long time they were in contention for the League and Cup double. They eventually lost in the FA Cup final to Tottenham and were pipped for the league title by Alf Ramsey’s Ipswich Town. Days after losing at Wembley Burnley played at Highfield Road in a game commemorating the opening of the new Cathedral. It was my first visit to the ground and as a star-struck nine-year old Pointer was impressive. When he scored two goals to help his team to a 4-2 win he cemented his place amongst my heroes.
Nemo in the Coventry Telegraph described Pointer's first goal: '..he hit a dipping drive which went in off the crossbar for a superb effort which even (Arthur) Lightening applauded as he retrieved the ball.'
In 1963 Ray suffered a chipped ankle and lost his place to Andy Lochhead and in 1965 he left Turf Moor for Second Division Bury for £8,000. He rediscovered his form at Gigg Lane, alongside a youngster called Colin Bell and scored 17 goals in 19 games including five in a 6-1 win over Rotherham. His form persuaded Jimmy Hill to splash £20,000 on the blond striker – a move which caused a rumpus amongst Bury’s supporters. City’s promotion push was stuttering through lack of goals with George Hudson losing form, Ken Hale looking a spent force and Bobby Gould still too raw. Pointer’s arrival had the desired effect, he scored on his debut, a 1-1 draw at Norwich and on New Years Day he hit a hat-trick in a 5-1 victory over Preston.
Nemo wrote: 'It is a long time since I can recall a Highfield Road crowd acclaiming an individual performance as they did Ray pointer's first-half hat-trick against Preston. ...Hill's swoop for Pointer has proved the shot in the arm so badly needed.'
His form, 11 goals in 19 games, convinced Hill that the fan’s idol Hudson was dispensable, and ‘The Hud’ was controversially sold to Northampton.
Ray however did not feature in Hill’s long term plans and after promotion was missed by a whisker in 1966 he invested £55,000 on Ian Gibson and Pointer’s days were numbered. With Bobby Gould emerging as a top striker, Ray played just seven early-season games in the promotion season and his final game was a shock home League Cup loss to Brighton. Ray was kicking his heels in the reserves and City rejected a £15,000 offer for him from Oldham and it was no surprise when in January 1967 he was part of an exchange deal with Portsmouth that brought midfielder Brian Lewis to Highfield Road.
Soon after joining Pompey he was converted to a midfield player and went on to play 165 games, scoring 31 goals in seven seasons at Fratton Park. At the age of 37 he played for non-league Waterlooville before hanging up his boots.
He took up coaching, first at Blackpool under his old Burnley boss Harry Potts, then back at Burnley and later at Bury under former Burnley legends Martin Dobson & Frank Casper. He later ran a shop in Blackpool but spent his last years in a care home, sadly another victim of Alzheimer's Disease which so many former footballers seem to succumb to.