Dave Kitson used to work for Sainsbury’s in his day job when starting out as a footballer for Arlesey Town and then Hitchin Town. Many years ago, those here old enough will remember the supermarket chain’s slogan of “Good food costs less at Sainsbury’s.” When Kitson signed for the U’s in early 2001 for a relative pittance and was then sold to Reading less than three years later for £150,000, that’s pretty much how it must have felt for a lot of U’s fans: Good footballers cost less for Cambridge United.
Kitson hit the ground running with his debut at the Britannia Stadium in March that year in a fine 3-2 victory. By the end of that season Kitson had opened his U’s account hitting the onion bag at the Vetch in his eighth appearance for the club.
The 2001-2 season ended in relegation back to the fourth tier but Kitson still managed double figures and was already bracing himself for a tilt at some U’s goalscoring legends the following season. 25 goals across all competitions in the 2002-3 season meant he breathed down the neck of a certain David Crown whose record remained intact until 2021.
The die was cast and by Christmas time the bigger boys were circling. A deal was struck on Boxing Day 2003 and Kitson was headed to the Royals. A return of 47 goals in 123 appearances ensured legendary status at the Abbey. Many new pastures were subsequently graced, including the top tier and Kitson finished his thirteen-year career with a near one-in-three goalscoring ratio, of which he should be very proud.