The story of Middlesbrough’s first ever black player


As part of Black history month Project Middlesbrough is focusing inspiring black people who are part of Middlesbrough great and rich history ,firstly we are looking Middlesbrough’s first ever black player Lloyd Lindbergh Delapenha here’s his story.

Lloyd Lindbergh Delapenha who was known as Lindy during his time at the club, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 20, 1927, became Middlesbrough F.C first ever black player in the clubs history.

Delapenha started playing competitive football at the age of 11 when he played for Wolmers schools. He scored his first goal for Wolmer’s against St George’s college in Jamaica in the Manning cup competition. Delapenha then attended Munro College in Jamaica where he was a multi-sport athlete. As a schoolboy, Delapenha took part in 16 events over a one-and-a-half-day period in England. He then 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.

Delapenha was of interest to Midldesbrough manger David Jack who signed Delapenha from Portsmouth for a fee of £6,000 in 1950 creating history becoming Middlesbrough first ever black player, one of the first black players in English football.

Delapenha made his Boro debut for the club on the final day 49/50 season against Fulham.

When joining the Boro he played as a winger /inside forward . Delapenha scored his first Boro goal against Arsenal, the club that had turned down the chance to tie him to a professional contract earlier in his career. He became a regular for Boro as an outside right or a winger as the club finished sixth the following season.

The player enjoyed over 8 seasons playing at the club and become a key player in the squad , was the top scorer three seasons of the eight he spent at the club,

He made over 270 appearances for the club in eight seasons scoring a total of 93 goals in his time at the Boro. Brian Clough described him as a “marvellous player” and “one of the best I have ever played with.” He was also at one time known to be the only Boro player to own a car.

Following retirement from football; he held a senior job with the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation, co-ordinating coverage of cricket, the Commonwealth Games, and helping bring international football to Jamaica. He represented his homeland at golf, while he also had a passion for horse racing.

Delapenha passed away peacefully in Kingston in January 2017, aged 89.

Looking black at Delapenha time at Middlesbrough FC it’s clear he became important part of the clubs history.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

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