Lloyd Lindberg ‘Lindy’ Delapenha was a member of the Portsmouth squad which won consecutive First Division Championships in 1948/49 and 1949/50. We are publishing this article as a contribution to Black History Month. Black History Month takes place every October and recognises the often overlooked contribution of black people to history.
Lindy was born in Jamaica on 20 May 1927. After completing his education, he travelled to England from Jamaica on a prisoner of war ship, spending his first night in Southampton. As this was 1946, he missed out on the second world war, but signed up for national service with the Royal Fusiliers and was posted to Egypt, where he represented the army at cricket, hockey and athletics.
After national service, he signed for Portsmouth in April 1948 and became the first Jamaican to play professional football in England.
Lindy’s two seasons at Portsmouth, at a time with a less intense fixture list and no substitutes, was mostly as an understudy. Although he was restricted by injuries, he made eight first-team appearances and scored once. He described Duggie Reid, a rival for selection, as ‘a big, cumbersome fella, big kick, who scored a lot of goals’ (327 appearances and 135 goals)
Leaving Portsmouth in April 1950, he signed for Middlesbrough, who were also an established first division club, where he played alongside Wilf Mannion and Brian Clough, scoring 93 goals in 270 games. He described Clough as ‘a great footballer, and a brilliant goalscorer but he was an arrogant fella’.
Lindy was fast with a powerful shot, fast enough to be approached to represent Great Britain at the 1948 Olympics, although he was ineligible as a professional sportsman.
After Middlesbrough he played for Mansfield, Hereford and Burton Albion
Returning to Jamaica in 1964, he had a career in sports broadcasting and arguably made a greater contribution to Jamaican sports than Usain Bolt.
Lindy, who died on 26 January 2017 at the age of 89, was the last surviving member of the Portsmouth Championship winning teams