Friday, 21 May 2010

More should follow Tim Cahill’s example

Sports News - April 15, 2010

Another year. Another transfer window. Another scattergun approach from the media.

Desperate to break the story first the press have obviously decided to throw enough transfer tittle tattle onto their back pages with the hope that one will stick, so when the player does make the move they can look all smug.

But even though I know most of these stories are fabricated, it doesn’t stop me from feeling anxious when most of them involve Everton players leaving rather than coming in.

The reason for this is because I, like most Blues, are still sore from the Joleon Lescott saga last summer. It was brilliantly orchestrated by Man City, who by consistently making public their interest in the defender, unsettled the former Wolves man (and much of the squad) to the extent that his mind had drifted across the M62 by the time the season had started. Aston Villa fans watch out, the same will happen with James Milner, trust me.

So when I read that Mikel Arteta is apparently off to Arsenal, Phil Jagielka is off to Man City and Jack Rodwell is off to United, you can’t blame me for feeling a little worried.

Loyalty carries little weight in these days of the £100,000 a week footballer. When we see players passionately kissing the badge and clapping the fans we like to think they are one of us. But the reality is very different and as we found with Lescott last year, those with the greater finances (sorry City I mean ‘ambition’) will nearly always win out.

I say nearly always because, thankfully, Tim Cahill has proved a very happy exception to that depressing rule.

The talismanic Aussie has become part of the furniture at Goodison now given the length of time he has been here. The very fact some fans became frustrated with him this season and even pondered flogging him to raise cash is evidence of the high standards he has set himself since his move from Millwall in 2004.

Even if he was not at his best at times this year, his presence on and off the field and his handy knack of arriving late in the area to grab crucial goals means he is still a vital asset to our squad, and the sort of player clubs pay top dollar for - what Man United could do with a goalscoring midfielder of his prowess to replace the aging Paul Scholes?

I reckon few would blame him if he sought one last big move, he has given six years loyal service after all and perhaps deserves to pick up more than just two FA Cup runners up medals in his career.

But Cahill strikes me as a man of principal. He is eternally grateful for what rewards the game has brought, the opportunity Millwall offered him as a young trainee miles away from home and the faith Eveton placed in him when they plucked him from obscurity.

He has since become a genuine World star and appears determined to reward that faith shown in him by the management, players and fans by committing the rest of his career to the club (and hopefully winning some trophies!)

His quotes upon signing the new deal are ones to cut out and keep:

“When you assess the situation, see where you are as a footballer, people question money and things like that, but there’s only so much more you can earn. The grass isn’t always greener.

“I don’t chase big moves. That’s the one thing I’ve done all my career, I’ve never invited clubs, I’ve never speculated.

“Everton know the way I work. It’s a sign of respect. With the history we’ve got, the future we’ve got, I feel there’s no bigger club.”

We should make a T-shirt with that on.

It is encouraging to know we have players who carry genuine affection for the club in the dressing room as they can only have a positive influence on the rest of the players. One of the most pleasing aspects of David Moyes’ transfer policy is his insistence on buying players with the right attitude as well as ability. I hope now that Cahill can be an example to players still at the club, as well as prospective transfer targets, that while we can’t offer the wages, we can offer the best environment for a player to develop in.

Yes I’m talking to you Mr Pienaar.

First published over at Everton Banter

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