Brigg, Lincolnshire born centre forward Joe Kitchen began his football career with Ancholme United in 1905, playing for Brigg Britannia the same year and Brigg Town in 1907, from whom he joined Second Division Gainsborough Trinity in the 1906 close season, making his Football League debut that December at Chesterfield Town, and his goalscoring over the next year soon brought him to prominence.
Several clubs were interested in securing his services, but Kitchen signed for Sheffield United in late March 1908 as part of a £600 deal that also took fellow forward George “Gee Gee” Brown to Bramall Lane, after 14 goals in 38 appearances for Trinity. Making his United debut still aged only 17 against Manchester City before the month end, Kitchen became a mainstay of the side, scoring regularly throughout his time with The Blades.
He scored three goals for Sheffield United during their FA Cup campaign of 1914-15, before scoring the third and final Sheffield goal in the “Khaki Cup Final” against Chelsea at Old Trafford a few minutes from the final whistle. The goal was a solo effort, he picked the ball up just over the centre line, beat two defenders and then slipped past the Chelsea keeper, who had come out to challenge Kitchen, before placing the ball in the empty net.
Kitchen remained at United for the duration of the First World War and into the resumption of League football in 1919. He was transferred to Rotherham County for £650 in 1920 after a disagreement over his contract but he failed to settle scoring only once in 18 appearances and returned to Bramall Lane within a matter of months after United agreed to repay the fee.
Falling out of favour by this time Kitchen finally moved on to Hull City the following season after 114 goals in 269 appearances for Sheffield United, this time for a much reduced fee of £250, thereafter playing two seasons at Anlaby Road and scoring 5 times in 30 appearances. He then moved to Midland League Scunthorpe & Lindsey United in August 1923 before also having two spells back at Gainsborough Trinity joining them in September 1924, also playing for Shirebrook in September 1925, re-joining Trinity in 1926 and finishing his career with Barton Town in 1927.