On Thursday, January 26, 2017, Jamaica lost an illustrious and beloved sportsman and veteran journalist, Lloyd Lindberg ‘Lindy’ Delapenha. (Please see The Gleaner’s story on his death here.) Delapenha has featured on both sides of the coin in media: he has been frequently reported about, inasmuch as he has also done plenty reporting. Here are 10 interesting facts you probably did not know about this incredible stalwart:
- He is said to have once called the ISSA School Boys’ Athletics Championships a ‘mini-Olympics’, recognising the importance of Champs to Jamaica’s exemplary athletic prowess.
- Representing Munro College in 1945, he participated in 16 events (eight heats and eight finals) over the then two-day ISSA School Boys’ Athletics Championships, something no other school boy had ever done. He was team captain and won the 880 yard and one-mile races, placing second in the 120 yard hurdles, the 220 yard dash and long jump; and third in the 110 and 440 yard races. This feat eventually prompted a change in the rules governing schoolboy athletics in Jamaica, reducing the number of events in which an athlete can participate.
- He served with the British armed forces in the Middle East following World War II.
- He was the first Jamaican to play professional football in England, joining Portsmouth in April 1948, where he won a league championship medal.
- He was transferred to the Middlesbrough football team and became a mainstay and the club’s leading goalscorer (1951-52, 1953-54 and 1955-56).
- He scored 93 league/FA Cup goals in 270 appearances, including unbroken records for a winger of 22 goals (1952) and 25 goals (1954) in a single season.
- At the peak of his football career at Middlesbrough, he was offered £26,000 to transfer to Manchester City, but declined it in order not to dislocate his fiancée.
- He retired from football in England in 1960 and won the Southern League Cup with Burton Albion, scoring the winning goal in the final.
- Nearing 40 years old, he took local Jamaican football team Boys’ Town from Division III to Division I and ended his playing career at Real Mona.
- He became director of sports at the then Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC), now Television Jamaica (TVJ).
For more facts on Lindy Delapenha, see The Gleaner’s article ‘Leadership is Lindy Delapenha‘.