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Celebrating Lindy Delapenha: A Pioneer in Pompey's History

International Men's Day celebrations continue in lead-up to dedicated fixture

21 November 2023

Club News

Celebrating Lindy Delapenha: A Pioneer in Pompey's History

International Men's Day celebrations continue in lead-up to dedicated fixture

21 November 2023

Following International Men's Day, we take a moment to reflect on the remarkable legacy of Lindy Delapenha – a trailblazer who left an indelible mark on Portsmouth Football Club and the English game as a whole.

His journey with Pompey began in 1948, making him not only the club's first black player in the senior team, but also the inaugural Jamaican to grace the Football League.

Lindy's debut for Portsmouth occurred in November 1948 – a momentous occasion that saw him step onto the pitch against Blackpool in a first division clash.

Little did anyone know that this historic match would be the start of a ground-breaking chapter in Pompey's history.

Although his appearances were limited in his debut season, Lindy played a pivotal role as the side secured their first top-flight title.

The following campaign saw Lindy making five league appearances and an additional one in the FA Cup.

It was in the latter competition that he etched his name into Pompey folklore by scoring his only goal for the club – a memorable strike in a 1-1 third round draw with Norwich.

Despite his contributions as the club defended the title, Lindy was transferred to Middlesbrough at the end of the season.

Colin Farmery, chair of the Pompey History Society, described his significance in the club's history.

He said “Despite the fact his Pompey career was relatively brief, his contribution to the fabric of both Portsmouth FC and the English game is significant."

In a time when racial diversity in football faced significant challenges, Lindy Delapenha broke through barriers, leaving an enduring legacy that resonates to this day.

Farmery added: “He is also believed to be the first black player to have contributed to a championship-winning team in England and, were the rules in place then as they are today, would have been entitled to a title-winner's medal to show for his efforts in 1949/50."

Lindy's connection with Fratton Park endured throughout his life and he maintained fond memories of his time with Pompey until his passing in 2017.

As we honour Lindy Delapenha as part of International Men's Day, we recognise him as a true Pompey pioneer – a man who defied the odds, broke down barriers and paved the way for future generations of footballers.


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