Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Jim Jefferies first spell in charge of Hearts in the mid 1990s saw him undertake a considerable rebuilding job. In particular, he looked at the defence and recruited goalkeeper Gilles Rousset and Italian no-nonsense defender Pasquale Bruno. Jefferies also brought in a left back who was to prove hugely popular in his three years at Tynecastle - Neil Pointon.
Mansfield born Pointon began his career at Scunthorpe United and his impressive displays caught the attention of Everton manager Howard Kendall who paid £75,000 in 1985 to bring him to Goodison - at that time the home of English league champions. Pointon was seen as defensive cover for the more established Everton stars and while The Toffees reached an all Merseyside FA Cup final with Liverpool in 1986, Pointon played no part in the showpiece game.
When Kendall departed for Spain, Pointon became more of a first team regular but in 1990, he linked up again with Kendall when he signed for Manchester City. Kendall had returned from Atletico Bilbao to Maine Road and he made Pointon one of his first signings. Two years later Pointon signed for Oldham Athletic and scored in their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United in 1994.
At 31, Pointon accepted Jim Jefferies offer to join Hearts, making his debut in the 4-2 win over Raith Rovers at Tynecastle in October 1995. Pointon became a vital member of the Hearts team that season and was instrumental in helping to develop youngsters like Paul Ritchie and Alan McManus. He played in the Scottish Cup Final in 1996 but couldn’t prevent a 5-1 loss to Rangers. Pointon was never anything less than committed to the Hearts cause and his passionate style of play made him a favourite with the Gorgie faithful. However, with Gary Naysmith emerging as a full back of some talent, Pointon found his appearances in the Hearts first less frequent. While he was part of the squad that lifted the Scottish Cup in 1998, he didn’t feature on the day - other than cavorting around Celtic Park in his cup final suit! At the end of that month, ‘Disa’ as he was affectionately known, left Tynecastle for Walsall. After a spell at Chesterfield, Pointon managed non-league sides Hednesford Town, Retford United and Mossley.
Today, Neil Pointon is a youth team coach at FA Premiership high fliers Bolton Wanderers.