Herbert Kilpin

Herbert Kilpin
Personal information
Date of birth (1870-01-24)24 January 1870
Place of birth Nottingham, England
Date of death 22 October 1916(1916-10-22) (aged 46)
Place of death Milan, Italy
Playing position Utility player
Youth career
Garibaldi Nottingham
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Notts Olympic
Saint Andrews
1891–1899 Internazionale Torino
1899–1908 Milan 23 (7)
Teams managed
1899–1906 Milan
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Herbert Kilpin (24 January 1870 – 22 October 1916) was an English football pioneer, player and manager. He is best known as the founder of Italian club A.C. Milan.

Early years

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.[1] 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.[2]

Club career

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.[1]

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[2]

Retirement and death

Kilpin married Maria Capua, a woman from Lodi, in 1905.[2] Little is known about his life after he retired from football. He died on 22 October 1916, aged 46, probably due to his drinking and smoking habits.[2] 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.[1] 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.[4]





  1. 1 2 3 4 Neil Heath (17 November 2009). "AC Milan's Nottingham-born hero". BBC Nottingham. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Herbert Kilpin". magliarossonera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  3. "La nascita di una mito". magliarossonera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  4. "Kilpin in the Famedio today". acmilan.com. Associazione Calcio Milan. 2 November 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
David Allison
Milan captain
Succeeded by
Gerolamo Radice
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