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Tim Cahill enters realm of legend

02/07/2014  Comments (25)  jump
Michael Lynch of the Melbourne Age in Australia lauds the singular talents of Socceroos and ex-Everton Talisman, Tim Cahill.

Such is the mythic position that Tim Cahill now occupies in Australian soccer history that it sometimes appears there is something otherworldly about him.

His ability to pop up at the right time and place, to score such crucial goals, his longevity and freakish sense of timing seem uncanny.

His place among the pantheon of Australian greats is secure, and even on the world stage he is part of a rare band to have played and scored in three World Cups.

Yes, we know Cahill was born in western Sydney to a father from London and a Western Samoan mother, and that he left home and went to the unprepossessing surrounds of south-east London at an early age to play for Millwall.

He is a player who has never been much of a dribbler, he's hardly known as an incisive passer of the ball, he is a clumsy tackler (hence the suspension that kept him out of Australia's game with Spain) and not known as someone who can control the rhythm and flow of a game.

Yet he exercises extraordinary influence and can shape the outcome of a match in an instant with his ability to get into the penalty area at the perfect moment to meet the ball with either his head or his foot to score crucial goals. It's a priceless, innate talent that few possess.

His former teammates are in no doubt what his secret is It's sheer force of will, character, hard work and an unquenchable thirst for success allied to a "never give up" mentality.

''Timmy is amazing. You see him out on the pitch, you know he is never going to stop, never going to give up. He is a winner, a fighter, he always wants the ball, he always wants to do something with it, he fights, he scraps he just never gives up. It's something in him, it's hard to teach that,'' says Craig Moore, his former international captain and now a mentor with the Australian team.

It's a gift, a force of character, an element of nature that makes Cahill what he is: that, and the preparedness to work hard, believe in himself and never take no for an answer.

Michael Lynch
Melbourne Age

» Read the full article at Melbourne Age

Reader Comments (25)

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Liam Reilly
1 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:13:51
Shame we never got a chance to say goodbye properly to Tiny. I live in Dublin and make a few games a season but I'd have made time for his testimonial.

Not unduly laden with natural talent but he had that magic about him; that he could make things happen. Super goal in the World Cup too.

Phil Armstrong
2 Posted 02/07/2014 at 20:31:58
I wonder if he'll come back for Osman's testimonial?
Roger Sunde
3 Posted 02/07/2014 at 20:41:23
We sold Cahill too early, I love that man.
James Martin
4 Posted 02/07/2014 at 21:44:35
I always thought he was underrated as a midfielder. He had such a goal threat that managers wasted some of his talents by playing him virtually upfront. He was so good there as well occupyiing defenders both on the ground and in the air in a way that put established strikers to shame.

I felt he was at his best though in a midfield three with a holding player behind him where he could pressurise, cover every blade of grass, be combative, keep possession well, and most importantly arrive late in the box for crucial goals.

After Fellaini, I always thought MoyesÂ’s greatest mistake was forgetting Cahill was a great attacking centre mid and instead converting him into some sort of second striker to jump for goal kicks and flick ons.

People say his technique was never the best but what is the definition of technique? HeÂ’s still the best header of a ball IÂ’ve ever seen in my lifetime, and as his volley against Holland and goal against Chelsea show heÂ’s clearly got other skills in armoury.

In my eyes, a great Everton player who singlehandedly gave people hope in dark times in the post Rooney period. Our season often hinged on his fitness. Sadly his quality has been judged retrospectively with recent seasons in mind rather than when he was in his prime and easily our best player.

Patrick Murphy
5 Posted 02/07/2014 at 21:51:09
James canÂ’t argue with what you say but Duncan wasnÂ’t bad in the air nor was Andy Gray who could pass the ball with his head. That Colombian player Rodriquez James reminds me of Cahill in stature and movement with a little of Arteta thrown in. Now if we could have merged the artistry of Arteta with the grit and determination of Cahill we would have had one hell of a player.
James Martin
6 Posted 02/07/2014 at 21:58:55
Sorry Patrick my memory doesnÂ’t stretch back to Andy Gray. Ferguson also had a good height advantage on Cahill. Ferguson is revered though whereas I think towards the end of TimÂ’s time there was some revision of his time at Everton, that he was just a talisman who was good from set pieces etc. overlooking the fact that he was actually a really good player on a really consistent basis (arguably more so than Ferguson).

Yeah, Arteta and Cahill were boss as a young Evertonian. Gave me enough great memories to last me through the dark times of the Fellaini Rodwell Neville years.

Paul Andrews
7 Posted 02/07/2014 at 22:11:26
A heart of a lion.

An out-and-out winner.

A legend.

Ant Dwyer
8 Posted 03/07/2014 at 00:25:16
IÂ’m made up to see Tim get any and all plaudits, he is one of the hardest working honest players IÂ’ve ever had the pleasure to see play. Always giving 100% even when some others hardly giving 10% (Luis Saha 2011-13). One of my idols in football, a true blue legend.
Terence Leong
9 Posted 02/07/2014 at 23:35:08
People often forget that Cahill also had an incredible overhead goal against Chelsea some years back

Certainly, his heading ability stands out for a man with his relatively small stature.

What a player!

Steve Carter
10 Posted 03/07/2014 at 04:45:39
Credit has to be given to Ferguson – for one, he is Everton’s highest Premier League goalscorer. However, I suspect a lot of the reverence he’s accorded comes from the fact that he went out of his way to physically threaten opponents, and his opponents found him physically threatening. We knew there’d be no shit from opposing defenders with Big Dunc around.

But Duncan was a man amongst boys in that regard. If heÂ’d played rugby union or league, heÂ’d have been a shy boy amongst the Martin Johnsons, Zinzan Brooks, etc., of his time.

Cahill on the other hand was the real deal. He didnÂ’t go out to play the thug. He just played it with the aggression, will to win and Â’no quarter given, none asked forÂ’ attitude that came with being born and bred in the Western Suburbs of Sydney surrounded by rugby union and rugby league playing cousins.

He was as Paul #7 describes, and is the greatest Everton player of the Premier League era; and by that fact alone, given the gulf in quality between that league and the old Football League, he has got be ranked up there with EvertonÂ’s best full stop.

Anto Byrne
11 Posted 03/07/2014 at 05:41:23
History books will show he scored over 60 goals for Everton, played in three World Cups and has a screamer of a goal that will be replayed and talked about for years to come. Remember the goal against Man Utd at Old Trafford when he ghosted onto a Pienaar cross and the one against Chelsea at the Bridge, an overhead volley. Winners away to Man City come to mind. Very much a Legend.
Matt Traynor
12 Posted 03/07/2014 at 07:27:28
Can't add to the tributes above, other than to say having been lucky enough to spend a few hours in his company when he was on international duty, you got to know pretty quickly how much he'd taken to Everton, and the fans, as much as they'd taken to him.

I just find it slightly ironic that the praise is being heaped upon him now, when the start of his international career was delayed when Football Federation Australia refused to sanction his international registration, due to him having played for Samoa at U20 level at the age of 14, even though FIFA had changed the rules. He fought that decision for 2 years before they relented, and now he's their talisman.

How ironic it would've been if he'd been able to take up Ireland's offer of a place in their World Cup squad for 2002. Subsequently he would've been eligible for any of the home nations due to years of residence in UK.

Mike Green
13 Posted 03/07/2014 at 07:33:47
Lord Timothy of Cahill – my brother (a Red) hated him, which is testament enough for me.

A player who, from memory, matched Dixie DeanÂ’s record for scoring in Derbies at Anfield, holds the record for headed goals in the Premier League and made the most of the talent he was blessed with.

His goal in the World Cup was a fitting conclusion to a great career where he gave everything for club and country, I would take him into the trenches with me every day of the week.

Legend might be a bit much but if Everton had a Hall of Fame (maybe we have.....?) heÂ’d be nailed on.

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 03/07/2014 at 07:58:37
Great tribute, thoroughly deserved. The mighty mite is my second all-time favorite Blue, behind only Sheedy. He exemplified everything that is good and tenacious and utterly fearless in the Everton tradition, and that goal a couple of weeks ago was pure joy.
Ray Roche
15 Posted 03/07/2014 at 08:03:20
Mike, it appears that Dean scored 11 at Anfield and Tim 3, according to this web page. Gives all the scorers at the bottom.

Mike Green
16 Posted 03/07/2014 at 09:11:08
Spot on Ray. IÂ’ve googled it and thereÂ’s bits about Cahill equalling DeanÂ’s record of scoring in three Anfield derbies, but looking at your link it looks like Dean scored in five, with two hat-tricks. So, looks like itÂ’s all spin. Can you imagine what would be made of Dixie if he was playing today.....?
Chris Rudd
17 Posted 03/07/2014 at 13:15:04
The fact that every Red I know used to hate him would be enough for me.

Added to his 'run through a brick wall' attitude and how he totally 'gets' Everton, he'll always be a modern legend to me.

I was chuffed to bits that his World Cup goal reminded everyone just now much he had to offer and how playing always mattered to him.

Love the bones of him. Come back and see us soon, Tim.

Peter Howard
18 Posted 03/07/2014 at 17:22:16
I think the reference to Dean is that they both scored in three consecutive Anfield derbies.
Peter Howard
19 Posted 03/07/2014 at 17:31:50
Come to think of it... so did Andy King.
Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 03/07/2014 at 18:10:45
Peter - Andy King scored that memorable goal at Goodison in October 1978 and then scored in consecutive derbies at the other place in March and October of 1979. But I think youÂ’re correct about Tim Cahill.
Mike Childs
21 Posted 03/07/2014 at 22:13:44
2011 being my first full year as an Everton fan, he became my favorite player. As I've said before, as an American, I was first drawn to the team because of Donovan and Howard; it was Tim's win-at-all-cost, never-say-die passion for the game that sold me on him and Everton. As a neophyte, I couldn't believe Everton let him go. In fact I'm still puzzled why.
Chad Harper
22 Posted 04/07/2014 at 20:25:09
After Arteta, I think Cahill was MoyesÂ’s best signing. I remember him choking Alonso in the 3-0 derby win!! Great player and always gave 100%.
Ant Dwyer
24 Posted 06/07/2014 at 00:46:02
Chad, I agree that Arteta was a great signing by Moyes, as was Jagielka, Lescott, Pienaar, Stones, Coleman, & Howard... but I think the ٟ.4M we stole Tim Cahill for has to go down as MoyesÂ’s finest signing for me.
Dennis Stevens
25 Posted 08/07/2014 at 01:38:42
Matt #12

Would the residency rules have been relevant? I thought he was born in Australia to a Samoan mother and a father of Irish descent but from London, so I'd have thought he could have chosen to play for any of a few different countries.

Aidan Wade
26 Posted 11/07/2014 at 19:40:10
Delighted he's getting some deserved credit, when I visited Sydney 4 years back while he was still a blue, those Aussies who bothered with a round ball all loved Harry-I-couldn't-even-be-bothered-in-a-CL-final-Kewell which bewildered me.

He was a player who always looked like he loved it as much as the fans and gave his all to whoever asked him to play. I think if he was playing with his kids down the park he'd be running to the corner flag like a berserk welterweight after a goal.

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