Lindy Delapenha

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Lindy Delapenha
Personal information
Full name Lloyd Lindbergh Delapenha
Date of birth ({{{year}}}-Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{".-{{{day}}})Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{"., Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{".Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{".
Place of birth Jamaica
Date of death 26 January 2017(2017-01-26) (aged 89)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1948–50 Portsmouth 7 (0)
1950–58 Middlesbrough 260 (90)
1958–60 Mansfield Town 115 (27[1])
1960 Hereford United
1964 Burton Albion
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Lloyd Lindbergh "Lindy" Delapenha (5 May 1927 – 26 January 2017) was a Jamaican footballer and sports journalist. He was the first Jamaican to play professional football in England.[2] Between 1948 and 1960, he played league football for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Mansfield Town.

Playing career[edit]

Delapenha was an old boy of Munro College in Jamaica where he was a multi-sport athlete.[3] As a schoolboy, Delapenha took part in 16 events over a one-and-a-half-day period in England. He then served with the British Armed Forces in the Middle East following World War II. During his service, an English football scout saw him playing football for the British Army.[4]

This gained him a trial with Arsenal, but he did not sign for the club, and in April 1948 he joined Portsmouth. There, he became the first Jamaican to play professional football in England.[2] Although it is claimed he was the first non-white player to appear in the English Football League First Division,[5] he was actually predated by several other non-white players, including Arthur Wharton, who played a First Division match for Sheffield United as far back as 1894–95.[6]

In April 1950, after a successful few years with Portsmouth, he transferred to Middlesbrough where his career took off. He played on the wing or inside-forward, and became Boro's leading scorer in the 1951–52, 1953–54 and 1955–56 seasons. In total he scored 93 league and FA Cup goals in 270 appearances.[7]

He moved to Mansfield Town in June 1958, contributing 27 goals in 115 appearances over two years, before retiring from League football in 1960.[8] Delapenha played non-league football, Hereford United and Burton Albion. He won the Southern League Cup in 1964 with Burton.[9]

Later life[edit]

Having returned home to Jamaica in 1964, Delapenha played cricket for a short time and represented Boys' Town at football, taking them from Division 3 up to Division 1. Soon after, he became director of sports at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.[5] At the JBC, he had various roles including co-ordinating coverage of cricket, the Commonwealth Games, and helped bring international football to Jamaica. He stayed there for 30 years before JBC was sold and his services were no longer required.[4]

He died on 26 January 2017 at the age of 89, after a stroke.[3]


  1. ^ Barry J Hugman, The PFA Premier and Football League Players Records 1946-2015, G2 Entertainment, 2015, p. 224
  2. ^ a b "Lloyd Delapenha". Football United, Racism Divides. 
  3. ^ a b Lindy Delapenha is dead. Jamaica Observer.
  4. ^ a b Desmond, Allen (2004-11-28). "Lindy Delapenha: Jamaica's greatest footballer is a man ahead of his time". The Jamaica Observer. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  5. ^ a b "Delapenha: First non-white to play English Division 1 football". Jamaica Gleaner. 1999-10-24. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Arthur Wharton". Football United, Racism Divides. 
  7. ^ "Former Middlesbrough FC man Lindy Delapenha has passed away aged 89". Middlesbrough F.C. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  8. ^ Glasper, Harry. Middlesbrough, A Complete Record, 1876–1989. Breedon Books Sport. ISBN 0-907969-53-4. 
  9. ^ "The Lindy Delapenha Interview".