Rovers Official Website met up with 70’s legend Peter Kitchen at his home in Kent as he describes his life at Rovers and after.
Where are you now?
I live in Ightham, a small village about 5 miles from Sevenoaks in Kent. I have lived in my current house for just over 7 years with my partner, Katherine, but have lived in the Sevenoaks area for about 12 years having worked here in Kent for approx 25 years.
I retired from my Job as Operations Director with a Leisure Management Company in 2009, when I was 57 years old, having been responsible for managing a number of Leisure Centers/ swimming pools and a golf course and over 300 staff in the Sevenoaks district.
I still try to keep myself fit and regularly go jogging and cycling at least 5 days per week and enjoy a good social life and try to get away as often as I can.
We spend quite a lot of time on holidays and trips abroad as we have an Apartment near Malaga in southern Spain and a timeshare in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
My son Michael, is married to a Japanese girl and lives in Osaka, Japan. They have 3 children so we try to visit them each year, which usually means we are there for at least 3 weeks. This coming summer, we will be going to see them and have arranged a stopover for a week in Hong Kong en route.
Do you still have involvement with football?
I am not directly involved in football, however I do maintain regular contact with some of my pals from my time in football and try to get to a few games each season to watch both Rovers and Leyton Orient and fans may recall, I went on the pitch with John Ryan before the Brentford game last season, when Rovers won promotion.
I have also been involved with Leyton Orient supporters Club, as patron of their ' Somme memorial Fund' and helped them raise approx £20,000 to build a permanent War memorial on the Somme battlefields in Northern France, which was unveiled in July 2011 to honor the 40+ players and staff of then Clapton Orient, who were the first English club to enlist en Masse into the army in 1914. Three players lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme.
When I stopped playing professionally in 1985, I ended all my involvement in Football because I was so disillusioned by a lot of the people in the game.
However, I was persuaded by Martin Tyler, the Sky TV Commentator, to join their football team, The TV Commentators X1, in 1990, which involved playing in regular Charity matches around the country , The team also included John Motson, Alan Parry, Jim Rosenthal and several radio personalities and ex professionals and we played for many years and I am still in contact with many of these guys now.
I also played each week for the famous amateur club, the Corinthian Casuals until I was 53 years old, playing against boys from some of the public schools around the country, ie Eton, Charterhouse, Millfields etc and we also went on several tours to South Africa, Brazil, USA and Russia to name a few.
During this time I was also a P/T Football coach with Wimbledon FC, when they were in the Premiership and I managed the Under 13's, 14's and 15's for 9 year's , before having to relinquish this role due to the demands of the new Youth Academy rules introduced in the late 1990's and my own work commitments. At that time, I had a very demanding career outside of football and knowing the pitfalls of Football Management, I did not want to become involved again on a Full time basis.
Who was the manager at Rovers you worked best with?
Laurie McMenemy signed me as a professional in 1970, when I was 18, he was an excellent man manager, motivator and I had a lot of respect for him. I had a very good first season, when Rovers were in the old third division, scoring 6 goals in 13 first team appearances, however we were relegated that season and Laurie was sacked, so my career development came to an abrupt halt, because the club appointed Maurice Setters as the new Manager and he didn't appear to rate me as highly, so it took me a further two seasons to reestablish myself as a regular in the first team.
The sacking of Maurice and the appointment of Stan Anderson as manager in 1974, was the change I needed and I had 3-4 great seasons under Stan Anderson , scoring over 20 goals in each of these seasons.
Stan wanted us to play more of a passing game, his calm approach and way of playing really suited my personality, skills and he gave me the confidence I needed at the time.
I would have to say therefore that Stan Anderson and his Assistant, John Quigley, had the biggest impact on my career.
I would have liked to stay at Doncaster, but in the 70's there was no money or ambition at the club and as a player you always have to challenge yourself to aim to play at the highest level you can.