An RAF navigator during the war, the full-back was released by first club Burnley and made a name for himself at Lancashire neighbours Rochdale before Chesterfield snapped him up.
Leicester were impressed by his performances and forked out £8,500 of cup-run profits for his services. Luck was not on the Burnley-born defender's side, however, and he suffered a broken nose in his City debut, against Hull City in August 1949.
It thwarted his progress from the off and Kirkman failed to hold down a regular starting birth, eventually seeing him request a move away from the club in search of more first-team action. That move took him to Southampton but he failed to continue the promise showed during his days at Chesterfield.
A spell in football management at Exeter City as player-manager followed, and eventually brought his time in football to a close.