Came through the youth team before signing a professional contract with the Rovers in July 1970 under manager Lawrie McMenemy. The talented striker made progress in reserve team football before being given his chance in a Rovers team that was finding life in the third division hard, with goals difficult to come by. The 18 year old was included in the starting line up on the 27th November 1970 away at Shrewsbury Town where he made an immediate impact. Within moments the teenager had opened the scoring, and went on to have a hand in Rovers’ third as the side recorded a great 3-0 win. He kept his place for the following game at Belle Vue, again finding the net in a 2-1 defeat to Swansea, but Rovers struggled badly and Kitchen returned to the reserves before returning to play a part in the final 8 games, scoring 4 goals in the process. Things were looking good for him to become a regular in the side, but the team were relegated and McMenemy replaced as manager by Maurice Setters and Kitchen was seemingly back to square one and he made only 6 starts the following year.
He started the 1972 season as a regular in the team and despite the team managing only 1 point from the first 6 games, Kitchen had already helped himself to a couple of goals. The following season began with more optimism, a number of players had joined Kitchen in the first team from the clubs youth set up, and big striker Brendan O’Callaghan joined the Rovers forward line. He and Kitchen immediately hit it off with O’Callaghan’s ability in the air a constant source of ammunition for the ever alert Kitchen. The pair scored 26 goals between them including two at Anfield in the memorable draw with the eventual cup winners that would have seen Rovers produce one of the biggest upsets ever had Kitchen’s late effort found the net instead of the cross bar.
The next few years saw Kitchen’s talents blossom alongside O’Callaghan and winger Ian Miller, the trio were an exciting unit to watch and guaranteed goals with Kitchen scoring over 20 in the league for the next three seasons. The only black spot being that despite the talent and goals the team possessed they never managed to achieve promotion, leaving Kitchen frustrated and keen to test himself at a higher level, he spent most of his final season with the club on the transfer list, before moving to second division Leyton Orient in the summer for £45,000.
He proved he could score goals at a higher level, even in a struggling Orient side, and dragged the team to the semi-finals of the FA cup, scoring 7 of the teams 9 goals in the competition. He went on to play for Fulham (moving for £150,000) Cardiff before heading back to Orient where he was again among the goals via a spell in Hong Kong during a career which saw over 150 league goals.
The only mystery sounding the career of Peter Kitchen was how he never got the opportunity to play at the highest level. Not the quickest of strikers, though he was razor sharp in the penalty box, he was a supreme finisher though his game offered more than just goals. He came alive in the box often needing only one touch where others would’ve needed two. He scored 101 goals for the club and is a genuine Rovers legend.