Moment of magic: Cahill's stunning overhead kick at Chelsea in November 2007
It's not uncommon for players, through sheer longevity, to come to represent an era at a football club. It's rare that a player ends up defining that era, but it's fair to say that Tim Cahill, without question the most important Everton player of the past decade, has done just that.
From his transfer fee — in hindsight, a ridiculously low £1.5m — to his spirit, determination, commitment and moments of brilliance, in his eight years at Goodison Park the 32 year-old has epitomised the Blues under David Moyes's tenure. And though his time on the Blue half of Merseyside didn't yield the silverware his talents and endeavour deserved, Cahill can nevertheless look back on a hugely successful career, and not just because of his elevation to iconic status in Australia for feats performed on the world's biggest stage.
Like Duncan Ferguson before him, Cahill became the standard bearer for a club still struggling to make up the ground lost in the 1990s and to reclaim former glories, playing as he did with unmistakeable passion and pride for Everton Football Club. And like Ferguson, he will likely be forever Blue, a willing ambassador for this Club long after his playing days are over, and a player cemented in the folklore of one of England's most storied sporting institutions.
Plucked by Moyes from Millwall in the then First Division in 2004, Cahill offered plenty of raw promise but the way in which he took to life in the Premier League probably surprised even his new manager. Though his uninhibited and occasionally reckless style had made him a magnet for yellow cards — 17 of them — in his final season at the New Den, the Sydney-born player demonstrated his innate self-confidence and blossoming maturity with a stunningly accomplished display on his debut... in the cauldron of Old Trafford no less. It was a composed, orchestral midfield display the like of which would make him so important for his country at the World Cup Finals in 2006 but it would prove out of character from the majority of the career at Everton that would follow.
The Tim Cahill that supporters at Goodison came to know and love was the altogether more rambunctious and attacking player who would score the winner at Manchester City in his first full game for the Blues and go on to finish his first season at Everton 12 with goals, his best haul in the top flight. It helped steer the post-Wayne Rooney Blues to a fourth-place finish and a crack at the Champions League group stages, one that would end in heartbreak at the hands of Villarreal and Pierluigi Collina.
In all, Tim scored 68 goals for Everton in 278 appearances, so many of them crucial strikes for a team that, historically under Moyes, struggles for goals. Time and again during his eight years in a Royal Blue jersey, the combative Aussie would rescue his team, popping up with now-legendary aerial ability to head home a crucial set-piece or pounce with predatory instinct on a loose ball in the box and stab it home.
Along the way, Cahill became the scourge of the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, becoming the first player since Dixie Dean to score in three consecutive Merseyside derbies, becoming the Blues' top post-War goalscorer against the Reds, and routinely, it seemed, grabbing the winner against the Sky Blues even after their overnight transformation into the world's richest club.
A player in the Dave Hickson mould, Cahill would almost literally smash his way through brick walls for the Everton cause, taking a pummelling from opposition defenders, putting his head in harm's way and playing through the pain barrier for a manager all too often squeezing everything he could out of an uncomfortably small squad.
But his resilience, physicality and courage sometimes belied his athleticism and his ability to pull off the spectaclular; never more so than at Stamford Bridge in November 2007 when, in the final minute of a game Everton were losing by a single goal, he executed a stunning overhead kick that flew into Carlo Cudicini's net and earned the Blues a point. Mr Reliable, Talisman Tim.
If there was to be a point of friction and contention in an otherwise inspiring Everton career, it was Cahill's seemingly insoluble battle between club and country. His unwavering commitment to both arguably hastened the peak of his powers and brought on the diminshment of his effectiveness for the Blues over the past 18 months.
Years of gruelling domestic football, spells of playing through various metatarsal fractures and muscle injuries, compounded by a relentless international schedule involving numerous flights to the other side of the globe, led many to feel as though Cahill had reached burnout. In his ceaseless desire to give his all to everybody, he arguably shortened the lifespan of his career at the top level.
The term "legend" is bandied around a lot these days and though it's literal definition surrounds historical or unverifiable stories, as far as sporting achievement goes, most fans are aware of what the term invokes. Cahill doesn't have the mesmerising ability of an Alex Young or the sheer goalscoring prolificacy of Dean, and — again, like Ferguson before him — he may have become a source of frustration due to the style of football his presence in the team encouraged or necessitated, but even if his pure footballing contributions alone haven't elevated him to legend status — to these eyes they arguably did — when you factor in what he has done for and come to mean to the Club, Tim has surely earned the title of Everton Legend.
Flying the Blue flag abroad, particularly in his native Australia, and a model professional inspiring a new generation of fans at home, Cahill has become a proud ambassador for Everton FC. Unquestionably loyal to club and country, a devoted family man, a warrior on the pitch and, most importantly, a goalscoring saviour in Everton Blue, Tim has earned this chance to leave Goodison if not at the very top then at least before lasting damage was done to his legacy. In his heart of hearts, he must feel what most of us feel — that the timing is right for both parties.
His move to Major League Soccer provides him with a chance to blaze one more trail in an entirely different setting, one that is more condusive to his young family settling quickly than perhaps the more exotic locales of China and the Middle East.
Much has been made already of the small return that Everton have agreed to receive for a player who has two years left on his contract and plenty more to offer in England's top flight but if this is the Club helping smooth the way to a lucrative swansong, then I don't think we can begrudge a player who gave the Blues so much in eight memorable years.
So long, Tiger Tim, and thanks for the memories!
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487 Posted 24/07/2012 at 06:24:20
The Tigers time was up, truth be known he has been past his best for some time now, but this is a time to remember his achievments.
His magnificently timed header at Old Trafford, His acrobatics at The Bridge, The way he halted RS celebrations in the dying minutes at Anfield,.
We`ll always remember his unique celebration at the corner flag - boy did City fans hate that.
Thanks for the memories Tim lad.
488 Posted 24/07/2012 at 06:38:03
490 Posted 24/07/2012 at 06:47:38
Maybe the style of play will change now he's gone, but we need to start bringing some more in or we will be wishing he was still here!....
492 Posted 24/07/2012 at 06:59:14
You could also argue that he's leaving us while he has some resale value, however small, as a parting gift to invest back in the club. Nice that he's got a good move out of the country too, means he won't have to play against us and remains 'true blue' at the top level.
Hopefully the club will arrange some sort of send off, a Hall of Famer if ever there was one. I just hope he's reading all the messages on here, he deserves all the accolades he gets.
494 Posted 24/07/2012 at 07:17:47
Everton till the day I die!
499 Posted 24/07/2012 at 07:25:20
I think most of us would agree that it's good timing. For me Tim would have remained a legend whatever he did, but the longer we played him as his impact continued to lesson, the less enamoured of him many fans understandably became.
It's that curious thing about football - we demand loyalty, but only when it suits us. I'm with Lyndon in that for many reasons I see him as a legend; but I'm also glad that he - and Moyes, in terms of his mindset - is moving on.
And we can remember him as we and he would like us to.
501 Posted 24/07/2012 at 07:32:06
Tim encapsulates everton under David moyes, hard-working, passionate, effective, determined and all for very little money. Surely our most notable talisman since ferguson. He goes at a good time with everyone's blessing.
For everton will this represent the start of a new era? Perhaps consisting mainly oftge type of football witnessed at the end of last season? Will a Cahill replacement be bought in or will fella or Naismith take on the role? Bold new times.
503 Posted 24/07/2012 at 07:37:59
507 Posted 24/07/2012 at 07:58:37
Another chapter closes.
509 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:10:31
510 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:14:40
You don't get players like this much now and it wont be till five or six years time will people really realise what he gave to the club in shitty times, he is every bit a legend to the medal winners I have witnessed over the years, good luck mate I shall make sure I`m at the first legends doo he is invited too.
512 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:23:54
517 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:40:35
Top top man
Goodison Park is a pooer place for his absence
521 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:25:56
523 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:49:39
I can only echo the comments. Great honest guy who did it for football and his pride and the money was a bonus. Very few like like him and he will be missed.
529 Posted 24/07/2012 at 08:51:26
Back in April 2007 I sent the club an email to see if we could get him to a Fans' night in Singapore in June, when the Socceroos were due to stay for a 10 day training camp prior to their inaugural Asian Cup after switching Federations from Oceania to Asia.
At the time he had the first of his metatarsal injuries, and it was touch and go that he'd recover. The club quite rightly told me it was not their call, and I'd have to contact Football Federation Australia. The club also said they'd casually mentioned it to him and he was up for it.
I emailed FFA and duly gave me a call saying they'd considered it, but would not be able to comply, and thought that was the end of it. They did put me on their circulation list, and when the squad was announced I noticed he was on it.
A few days later I was in my office and received a phonecall from an Angry Aussie who, in amongst the expletives, mentioned he was the Team Manager (not the then Coach, Graham Arnold, but another backroom guy). "You fuckin' got to 'im didn't ya?" I of course didn't have a clue what he was on about, but he then went on to tell me that Tim had told the management that he was going to do it, and they were to contact me to fix a date.
Venue duly booked, free of charge courtesy of the Aussie General Manager, we set about the plans. Singapore Everton Supporters Club set to work and compiled a guest list, I got a presenter from ESPN to ask the questions, and ESPN were going to film it (duly knocked on the head by FFA when they reviewed our "Event Plan").
A couple of days before the planned event, another phone call, and apologies for the short notice, but the coach needed the players that Monday night. They asked could we do Tuesday, knowing full well that it would be a pain to shift it at that short notice. "No problem, I understand you need to prepare for a major tournament, let's do Tuesday" I countered. Mutterings, and "Ok, pick us up from the hotel at 7.30pm".
The supporters club mailed out everyone - some of them were travelling from neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia. The evening arrives and I'm waiting in the hotel lobby, with the ESPN presenter, our driver for the top end BMW (guess who the MD of BMW in Singapore supported?) A few of the back-room boys came down (and they were HUGE - what do they feed them?), apologised for the delay, and finally Tim appears. Nervously I went forward to introduce myself, but he was straight over, shook my hand and said he was really looking forward to it.
On to the venue, Z-cars booming out as we walked up the stairs, and to my relief it was rammed. My surprise for Tim was to have the woman who was his baby sitter when he was growing up at the top of the stairs to say hello, they hadn't seen each other since he was a kid, and it was Tim's mother who'd told her to get in touch about the event! (I think she maybe inspired him to play football, as her name is Pele!)
The FFA had their own camera crew with them, and seemed to have relaxed about the whole thing. I'd agreed to a 30 minute appearance, but they said as long as he was back for a massage on his foot by midnight, we were good to go.
The banter in the room was legendary. After the ESPN presenter had grilled him about Australia, and the tournament, it was over to the floor of 100+ who were all Everton fans (apart from a couple of friends who were invited to see how a proper club treats their fans, and a few local girls who, erm, wanted to meet a Premier League footballer! One did blatantly ask him for his phone number). He signed a couple of shirts which we raffled for the Childrens' Cancer Society, and raised a pretty penny, and posed for photos and signed autographs for everyone who wanted one.
At the end of the night as I walked him back to the car, he told me how much he'd enjoyed it, and that him and Mikel had agreed new contracts. (He'd mentioned during the Q&A how much he, and some of the other players, loved the club, and you felt it was genuine). Sure enough it was all announced within the next week.
Afterwards back in the bar, I was told by people from ESPN, and fans of other clubs, who all said how much they'd enjoyed it, and couldn't imagine a "Big 4" club doing it.
530 Posted 24/07/2012 at 09:14:22
For me and my family he'll always be a 'modern legend' and Blue through and through. A tiger on the pitch, an ambassador off it. A fire burning in an Everton heart.
My favourite Cahill moment " That man Cahill! The first man since Dixie Dean in the 30's to score in three Anfield Derbys"
Thanks for all the memories Tim, come back soon and get the tumultuous welcome your feats on our behalf deserve. Can't believe I'll never see the corner flag celebration live again.
534 Posted 24/07/2012 at 09:36:55
535 Posted 24/07/2012 at 09:30:59
536 Posted 24/07/2012 at 09:35:22
Legend isn't too grand a tag for our Tiny Tim.
I'm sad because I still think he could've transitioned into the Carsley role and been with us for another 4 years at least. (who better to cover the correct opposing attacking midfielder at the right time than one of the best at doing it themselves)
537 Posted 24/07/2012 at 09:49:46
539 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:04:34
540 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:04:26
On the downside, what a shame he won't get the huge standing ovation Goodison would have given him if we'd known it was his last game, I would have thought he'll be back in the UK at some point coinciding with a home game, perhaps something could be arranged, just before kick off, for the fans to show their appreciation. This guy gave us everything.
541 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:08:38
543 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:19:06
I agree, Lyndon, the time is right and we should not begrudge Tim his move.
There are few players in the modern era who have the values of passion and loyalty and he has been a credit to himself, his family and to Everton FC.
Good luck, Tim, and I'm sure you'll never forget - once a Blue, always a Blue.
545 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:23:15
546 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:28:56
Mr Cahill, you have done us all so proud and hand on heart I hope everything works out for you in the USA.
549 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:40:59
550 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:45:37
He probably could have prolonged the inevitable by hanging around as an impact sub, but he deserves so much better than that.
A swansong in New York, playing alongside Terry Henry and earning millions of dollars is almost certainly the best retirement package in the known world.
100% Everton Legend.
555 Posted 24/07/2012 at 10:45:29
I know its probably the right time for all concerned but even so.
I just can't imagine Everton without Tim.
I said years ago that he is the best value for money signing in Prem history.
A real icon and a genuine,honest and polite man. His interviews were always impeccable.
Good luck mate,thanks for the memories. I,and many others,will miss you. You always gave us everything you had.
561 Posted 24/07/2012 at 11:21:56
Great article Lyndon.
I am completely gutted about this but I agree that it is the right time.
I wish the Goodison crowd could say goodbye in the manner that he deserves but I am sure he will get a raucous reception when he returns.
565 Posted 24/07/2012 at 11:26:13
It looks like the club have done the right thing by him too. He hasn't been sold-off, or moved-on. This looks like a reward for eight years of fantastic service and that reflects credit on all concerned.
So let's look forward to, say, five years from now when Tim's academies in Oz are sending us the cream of their crop. Or maybe there will be a few from the States. One thing's for sure - this isn't goodbye.
568 Posted 24/07/2012 at 11:51:55
570 Posted 24/07/2012 at 11:52:22
My favourite Cahill memory remains an away game at City, backs to the wall with a 1 goal lead, and watching him revving up and organising the team. A real leader in a battle.
Definitely the right time to go. A season earlier we might have questioned it, a season later I'm sure we would have regretted it. Perfect timing.
And I'll be making an effort to watch his first game over there.
571 Posted 24/07/2012 at 12:09:06
580 Posted 24/07/2012 at 12:11:18
Good luck to Tim and his family, go show them your best Jack Dempsey impression Tim !
582 Posted 24/07/2012 at 12:30:59
"The 32-year-old would end his career at Goodison Park on a sour note after being sent off on the final day of last season against Newcastle following a clash with Toon midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
Although the Frenchman apologised for his comments on Newcastle's official website, Cahill was still handed a three-match ban after Everton's appeal to the Football Association was rejected.
And while he accepted the suspension, he was left "disgusted" by Cabaye's comments, adding: "I don't wish to elaborate on the exact detail of what was said - but his words have no place either on or off the football pitch.
"Cabaye has apologised via his club's website and as far as I am concerned the matter is now closed."
585 Posted 24/07/2012 at 12:36:48
I wish Tim and his family a great time in the USA.
587 Posted 24/07/2012 at 12:40:21
I'm sure we all remember the dark times when heads went down and a good hiding was the only result we were going to get. Tim was never one of those players; he has never been the ref's favorite son – his many sending's off tell their own stories.
Thanks for the golden memories and the passion you possessed!!!!!!!
588 Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:01:40
591 Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:04:42
596 Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:28:07
597 Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:34:10
601 Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:43:54
604 Posted 24/07/2012 at 13:55:59
Come on down, Victor!
610 Posted 24/07/2012 at 14:39:17
It's easy to get watery eyed over him going but he has given us everything he had to give on the pitch and a whole lot more off it.
The fee may be low but it's a big wage off the books and another step toward getting funds for Pienaar and that in itself cannot be sniffed at.
Good luck fella – and don't ever forget what Z-Cars sounds like.
620 Posted 24/07/2012 at 15:29:38
626 Posted 24/07/2012 at 14:56:50
635 Posted 24/07/2012 at 16:03:24
639 Posted 24/07/2012 at 16:13:45
650 Posted 24/07/2012 at 16:37:55
Top Evertonian....Modern day legend in my eyes
Thanks for all those goals Tim....it's been a pleasure
Good luck for the future to you & yours
YOU WILL BE MISSED !!
657 Posted 24/07/2012 at 16:30:04
Sky Sports News showed some of Tim's highlights from his days with us, makes ya remember how good he was. Maybe playing against weaker players in USA will be good for him at this time of his carreer and he can look sharper over there than he did last season.
Thanks for the memories laa.
663 Posted 24/07/2012 at 17:16:02
Good story, Matt, but I can't say I'm surprised that Cahill should act that way. Top bloke.
670 Posted 24/07/2012 at 16:10:31
691 Posted 24/07/2012 at 18:49:40
No wonder he grew up so tough.
700 Posted 24/07/2012 at 19:04:10
The MLS wont know whats hit it, give those corner flags some stick.
Lets hope we get to see you one last time to say thanks for 8 great years....
701 Posted 24/07/2012 at 19:23:48
706 Posted 24/07/2012 at 19:43:07
On top of the "pile" Carsley on the bottom after he scored the winner against the shite the season we clinched 4th spot.
Got it as my screen saver. Great picture !!
708 Posted 24/07/2012 at 19:49:45
710 Posted 24/07/2012 at 20:14:44
Goodbye to a legend and a real shame that we couldn't give him a cup final send off
747 Posted 24/07/2012 at 22:15:21
Now I can watch a match without the Mrs going:
"Phwoaaaarrr what sexy beast",
"Phwoar look at them legs",
"Ohhh he's so cute"
"He's so dreamy"
"I won't kick him out of bed for eating biscuits"
"He can take me down under anyday"
"I hope he likes playing away"
"I'll give him a 4X alright"
The list goes on.........
But seriously Tiger Tim good luck mate... Can my Mrs go with you?
783 Posted 24/07/2012 at 23:33:30
Best of luck to TC across the pond.
806 Posted 25/07/2012 at 00:48:52
Thierry Henri on the bench....
845 Posted 25/07/2012 at 08:13:41
As an Australian who has passionately supported Everton since 1972, Tim actually got to live my dream 30 or so years later. I hope to meet him one day so's I can say I've met both my Everton faves (I met Mick Lyons in Canberra in the mid-90s). I've been to the UK a number of times in the last few years, seen Everton four times at Goodison but, sadly, have only seen Tim play once (last season v Villa). As you say, Lyndon, he defined an era. I'll get shot down for this by some, but that 'era' is the current Premier League era: that is, the era during which Everton has faced the highest quality opposition it has ever faced. And he's the only Everton player in living memory to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or. He has to be considered a 'Legend' alongside Dean, Latchford, Southall, in my book.
885 Posted 25/07/2012 at 12:50:07
For me, I agree with Lyndon - he IS Moyes's Everton. This is a man who understood what it meant to play for Everton, who understood what it meant to beat the Shite, who would give his last breath for the cause.
Definitely an EFC legend and has also got to be the very best value-for-money player in PL history!!
886 Posted 25/07/2012 at 12:34:01
Good point about the quality of opposition that we face now as opposed to other era, and a good subject for an article on it's own I think.
And yes the man is a legend, a great time for him to leave I think, rather than warm the bench.
887 Posted 25/07/2012 at 11:51:05
In an era where it has been sometimes difficult to watch Everton, this man always gave his best in that shirt and never gave up. Think back to the 3-3 draw with Man U when we scored 2 in injury time. that was typical of the man driving the team forward and his never say die attitude.
Well deserving of a decent final payday and good form from the club to allow this to happen.
891 Posted 25/07/2012 at 14:20:56
I bet he is gutted that he didn't belt Cabaye now as well.
931 Posted 25/07/2012 at 17:02:53
040 Posted 26/07/2012 at 00:48:51
059 Posted 26/07/2012 at 05:30:48
123 Posted 26/07/2012 at 15:47:12
206 Posted 27/07/2012 at 02:34:20
304 Posted 27/07/2012 at 15:04:10
All the best to him though. Some fab memories but not enough trophies.
316 Posted 27/07/2012 at 17:25:56
Best of luck TC, hope they have stong corner flags !
907 Posted 31/07/2012 at 00:59:03
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