Sporting fraternity mourns Delapenha's passing
Jamaica's first professional footballer and veteran journalist Lloyd Lindberg 'Lindy' Delapenha was hailed as a "wonderful man" following news of his death yesterday morning.
Delapenha, 89 year-old, died at 6 a.m. at the home of his daughter Marie Claire. He had suffered a number of stroke recently and lost his speech two weeks ago.
Dr Paul Wright, who worked alongside Delapenha on the horse racing programme Turf Talk on KLAS ESPN Radio, described him as "a wonderful man who came back to Jamaica to assist. Lindy had a passion for perfection and helped a lot of persons. We worked together and he will be greatly missed."
Veteran broadcaster and friend, Fae Ellington saids the nation should recognise him.
"What we need to do as a nation is recognise his contribution to Jamaica and outside of Jamaica," Ellington added.
He was an old boy of Munro College and also attended Wolmer's Boys School.
After a phenomenal performance as a schoolboy athlete, taking part in 16 events over a one-and-a-half-day period, he 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.
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. Although it is claimed he was the first non-white player to appear in the English Football League First Division, 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.
He went on to win a league championship medal with Portsmouth in 1948. 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, 195354 and 195556 seasons. In total he scored 93 league and FA Cup goals in 270 appearances.
He moved to Mansfield Town in June 1958, contributing 27 goals in 115 appearances over two years, before retiring from League football in 1960.
After three years of non-league football, initially with Hereford United, he moved back to Jamaica.
Having returned home, soon after though, he became director of sports at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC).
At the JBC, he had various roles including coordinating 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.