|Date of birth||24 January 1870|
|Place of birth||Nottingham, England|
|Date of death||22 October 1916(aged 46)|
|Place of death||Milan, Italy|
|Playing position||Utility player|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).|
Kilpin was born in Nottingham on 24 January 1870, the son of a butcher, and grew up with nine older brothers and sisters at 129 Mansfield Road. After leaving school he worked as a lace warehouse assistant in the city. He was a keen footballer and, aged only 13, he had taken part at the foundation of a small amateur club named after Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose players wore the typical red shirts.
From England to Italy
Kilpin's footballing career went on with the now defunct Notts Olympic and then for St. Andrews, a church team based near the Forest Recreation Ground on Gregory Boulevard, where he played as a defender and midfielder.
In 1891, Kilpin moved to Turin, in Italy, in order to work for Edoardo Bosio, an Italian-Swiss textile merchant with links to a Nottingham lace manufacturer. In the same year Bosio founded Internazionale Torino, believed to be the first Italian football club. Kilpin played for the team, becoming the first-ever Englishman to play football abroad. During this time, he also took part in the first two editions of the Italian Football Championship, losing both times in the final against Genoa.
Founding of A.C. Milan
By 1898, Kilpin had already left Turin and settled in Milan with fellow Englishman Samuel Richard Davies. The following year, the duo were among the charter members of A.C. Milan, which was originally named Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club. The first elected president was Alfred Edwards; while Kilpin, who was arguably their most experienced man, would serve as player-manager. However, he decided to let his oldest teammate David Allison be the captain for the first season.
The newly founded club proved immediately successful, as they won the national title in 1901, only the second season of their history. Kilpin spent nine seasons at the club, making a total of 23 appearances and scoring 7 goals, and led the Rossoneri to two more titles in 1906 and 1907.
Retirement and death
Kilpin retired in 1908 and little is known about his life thereafter. On the 7th. January, 1905, he married Maria Beatrice Capua, born in 1871 in Lodi, Lombardy, Italy. They had no children. In the 1911 census he was living in the via Giotto in Milan. He died of cirrhosis of the liver on the 22nd October 1916, aged only 46, probably due to his drinking and smoking habits. During the 1990s an amateur historian named Luigi La Rocca tracked down Kilpin's grave, which was long believed to have been lost, in the Municipal Cemetery in Milan. It had no reference to his name and was located in a part of the cemetery reserved for Protestants. Therefore in 1999, the club's centenary year, A.C. Milan paid for a new tombstone in the Monumental Graveyard. Following a petition, on 2 November 2010, Kilpin was inducted into the Famedio, the main building of the graveyard, where the tombs of the city's most illustrious personalities are located.
- Neil Heath (17 November 2009). "AC Milan's Nottingham-born hero". BBC Nottingham (British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Herbert Kilpin". magliarossonera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "La nascita di una mito". magliarossonera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Kilpin in the Famedio today". acmilan.com (Associazione Calcio Milan). 2 November 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Profile at magliarossonera.it (Italian)
|A.C. Milan Captain