Pompey mourn death of Delapenha

Lidy Delapenha
Lidy Delapenha
Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey are mourning the death of Lindy Delapenha, at the age of 89.

The former Blues forward (1948-50) died peacefully yesterday at the home of his daughter, Marie Claire, in Kingston, Jamaica.

It is reported Delapenha, who was the first black player to play for Pompey, suffered a number of strokes recently and lost his speech two weeks ago.

Born on May 25, 1927, in Jamaica, he learnt his football on the golden sands of Kingston.

A brilliant all-round athlete, Delapenha – who served in the Middle East during the war – represented the army at cricket, hockey and athletics, as well as football.

And it was while serving in the army that he was recommended to Pompey.

When he was demobbed, Delapenha joined the Fratton Park set-up rather than return to Kingston where his father owned a restaurant.

The forward made seven appearances for the Blues – all during the two League Championship seasons of 1948-49 and ‘49-50.

His debut came in November 1948 when Pompey drew 1-1 with Blackpool at Fratton Park.

His only goal for the club was against Norwich City when the Canaries drew 1-1 on the south coast.

In April 1950, with such a strong forward line, Pompey were happy to sell Delapenha to Middlesbrough for £7,000.

He enjoyed eight seasons at Ayresome Park, scoring 90 goals in 260 league appearances.

He faced his former employers on seven occasions in Boro’s colours, scoring three times against his old club.

From Teeside, he moved to Mansfield Town in 1958, hitting 27 goals in 115 games.

When he retired from League football, he returned to his home country in 1964.

There, he entered broadcasting, later becoming Director of Sport for the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation.

Delapenha is survived by his daughters Marie Claire and Linda, as well as his grandchildren.