George Kitchen

George Kitchen

George Kitchen was born in Fairfield, Derbyshire in April 1876. An outstandingsportsman he became a professional golfer at the age of 14. He also played cricket and for a time worked as a coach at Dulwich College.

Kitchen eventually decided to concentrate on football and played as a goalkeeper for Stockport County before joining Everton in 1898. He made his debut for the club against Bury in October 1901.

As Tony Matthews pointed out in Who's Who of Everton (2004): "A former England trialist, George Kitchen, at 6 ft 1 in. tall and 13 st. in weight, was the perfect build for a goalkeeper."

After playing 90 games for Everton Kitchen joined West Ham United in August 1905. Syd King had signed him as a replacement for Matt Kingsley who had been sold to Queen's Park Rangers. He joined a team that included Tommy Allison, Fred Blackburn, Billy Grassam, Billy Bridgeman, Arthur Featherstone, George Hilsdon, Harry Stapley, Lionel Watson, Frank Piercy, David Gardner and Len Jarvis.

The opening match of the season was against Swindon Town. West Ham won the game 1-0 in front of 10,000 supporters. George Kitchen became the first ever goalkeeper to score a goal on his debut. Kitchen was the team's penalty taker and he added three more that season. Despite this early victory, West Ham had a poor start to the season and lost 9 of their first 13 games.

Kitchen was a regular member of the West Ham United team for six seasons: 1904-05 (31 appearances), 1905-06 (39), 1906-07 (25), 1907-08 (41), 1908-09 (41) and 1909-10 (28). Kitchen was transferred to Southampton in 1912 and after making 39 appearances he decided to retire from football to become a golf professional.

George Kitchen died in Hampshire in 1965.