Lloyd Lindbergh “Lindy” Delapenha: 1927 – 2017

Lindy Delapenha: The Arsenal 1946

Lloyd Lindbergh “Lindy” Delapenha was a multi-talented sportsman from Jamaica who, after a short trial at Arsenal, played in a League winning side on the South coast at Portsmouth and then had a successful long spell in the North for Middlesbrough.

Born on 20th May 1927 in Kingston, Jamaica

After his school days in Jamaica, which were heavily sports driven, he decided to move to England, rather bizarrely coming over in a prisoner of war ship from Japan that stopped off at Jamaica before coming to England. He disembarked in the UK in 1946 and soon after had a trial with Arsenal in the transitional war season. On 30 March 1946 he appeared for the reserves against Bedford Town which ended in a 1-1 draw. Nothing more appears to have been progressed with him, and he joined the army.  

Due to National Service he enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers and was stationed in Egypt for the next two years. While there Delapenha, who continued to play many sports in the army, was spotted by a football scout, and on demobilisation he moved back to England living near Portsmouth.

In April 1948, after a trial, Lindy joined Portsmouth and in November of that year became the first Jamaican to play professional football in England. However, injury plagued him at Fratton Park and he was generally utilised as a reserve player for Pompey. During his time there the club were League Champions, and though he only made 8 first team appearances in his two season stay, he was part of two title winning teams in 1948-49 and 1949-50.

He transferred to Division One side Middlesbrough on 27 April 1950, signed by our own David Jack who was then the Boro manager and an admirer, after Lindy had excelled for Pompey at Ayresome Park in September 1949. Delapenha played on the wing or inside-forward, in tandem first with Wilf Mannion, and then Brian Clough. Lindy was their leading scorer in 1951-52, 1953-54 and 1955-56 and he had a great relationship with the Boro fans. 

Strong on the ball, he had power, pace and one of the hottest shots in the game. After 93 goals in 270 games he left Ayresome Park in June 1958 for Mansfield. Mansfield was his final league team and after 120 appearances he joined Hereford in 1960 and a few seasons later Burton Albion with whom he helped to win the Southern League Cup in 1964. Moving back to Jamaica later the same year, he played and coached a number of teams, and also helped bring international football to Jamaica. 

Delapenha became director of sport at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. There his roles included presenting and covering most sports including football, cricket, horse racing and the Commonwealth Games. He remained with them for 30 years and after retiring played many rounds of golf.

Lloyd Lindbergh “Lindy” Delapenha passed away on 26th January 2017, aged 89 in Kingston, Jamaica


British Library Local Newspaper Website

Non League Matters obituary

Jamaican Gleaner obituary

The Football Fly

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