In 2017, an independent film titled “The Lord of Milan” was released, bringing to life the interesting story of Herbert Kilpin, a name all but forgotten outside of Italy, not least in his own hometown.
Kilpin was born in Nottingham in 1870. After leaving school, he found work in the city’s famous lace industry, which eventually led to him moving to Turin, Italy, when he was 21. His boss in Turin started a football team and recruited Kilpin as a player, making him the first English footballer to play for a foreign team.
By the end of the 19th century, Kilpin had left Turin for Milan, taking his passion for football with him. He co-founded the Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club, better known today as A.C. Milan, in 1899. On top of founding the club, he served as a player and a coach, helping the “Rossoneri” (“Red and Blacks”) win three national titles during his time.
Today, A.C. Milan is one of the most famous football clubs in the world, having won many Italian and European trophies. The fact that its name remains in English, rather than Italian, is a reminder of the role Kilpin played in its history.
Sadly, Kilpin died in 1916, and his story remained relatively unknown in Nottingham until 2017. A book, followed by a film, was released, which generated local interest in his story. His birthplace was rediscovered, a run-down old shop behind a bus shelter.
The building was renovated, painted in the famous red of A.C. Milan, and dedicated as a tribute complete with information so that passersby can learn about his fascinating life. There is also now a pub in the city that carries Kilpin’s name, ensuring that his memory will live on.
Know Before You Go
You can walk by at any time, just make sure you're not blocking the bus shelter from those actually waiting for a bus.