By, Steven Clarke (Twitter: @StevenClarkeCFC)
Gary James Cahill, born on the 19th of December 1985 in Dronfield England. Grew up supporting his local club Sheffield Wednesday and idolised Des Walker
Des Walker was a 6ft centre back that enjoyed a successful career as a full England international. Gary Cahill would go on to mimic his hero’s career and even surpass it.
As a young man Chelsea’s future captain would be scouted by his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday. Despite the interest from Wednesday and many other clubs, Aston Villa was the club that signed Gary as a youth player for their academy.
Four years passed and Gary Cahill got his chance at the big time. Two loan spells would prove to be important steps in Cahill’s progression as a centre back. The first was at Burnley for the 04/05 seasons where Cahill would play under Steve Coterill. The second loan spell helped Gary achieve a life long dream of playing for his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday. It was the 07/08 season which proved to be a below par season for the owls with a 16th place finish and early exits from both English cups. Despite the disappointing seasons for each of the clubs Cahill visited on loan, he was given fair playing time and handy experience in the rough English second division (the Championship).
The man credited with bringing Gary Cahill to his next club, Bolton, was Football talent scout Colin Harvey, who after seeing Cahill play demanded that manager Gary Megson sign the 23 year old. He would debut in a 2-0 win over Reading three days later.
Under Megson Cahill would flourish and the very next season Cahill was voted Bolton Wanderers Players Player of the year by his colleagues. Cahill spent 4 years at Bolton leaving for Chelsea Football Club on the 16th of January 2012.
Chelsea are believed to have payed a fee of 7 Million British pounds for the Centre Back who had since 2010 been capped by the England national team. In his first season at Chelsea, Cahill won the FA Cup and the Champions League, playing a massive part in a show stopping Munich based final. Since then Cahill has become an integral part of many Chelsea sides including two Premier League title winning campaigns. To date Cahill has 322 Premier League appearances (according to the official Premier League site) keeping a clean sheet in 83 of those games. Cahill has captained his club and his country on numerous occasions all while remaining a stout and professional individual.
So that just about brings us up to date.
For about 2 and a half seasons now grumblings have been coming from a select few fans of Chelsea Football Club. Some voice honest opinions about the deteriorating athletic abilities of Cahill. Some voice irrational and crude hatred towards Cahill.
There is a clear divide in the Blues faithful, some believe he should go and be sold while he could still be an asset to buying clubs. Others (myself included) believe he is a invaluable part of the club who is both underappreciated and irrationally underrated as a player.
I won’t tell you what to think on the debate, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and it is true that Cahill has suffered from some momentary lapses in judgement that have lead to some fairly serious errors. The back passes against Arsenal and Swansea last season spring to mind. In the case of people who wish to judge a player based on these types of moments I would urge you strongly to revisit the famed phrase “ Form is temporary but class is permanent”.
It is however an interesting argument to explore. Steven Gerrard in his final years at Liverpool often suffered similar criticism. While Gerrard is far more beloved at Liverpool than Gary Cahill is ever destined to be at Stamford Bridge, they are both without question legends of their clubs. Steven Gerrard’s biggest error in a Liverpool shirt will be a fond memory for all Chelsea fans. The slip in our 2-0 victory over the Reds that helped end their famed title bid. This is not the only similarity the two Englishmen share either. In Gerrard’s last game against Manchester United he was sent off after 48 seconds when he dove into a seemingly foolish tackle. I would argue a similar thing has recently happened to Cahill in our first game this season against Burnley. Though this type of mistake does definitely not mean the end for Gary it certainly brings back memories of Branislav Ivanovic’s cruel ending to his Chelsea career.
Gary Cahill is a unsung hero for many Chelsea fans like myself. I value his bravery and leadership on the pitch and still believe him to be an asset the team and the club. If we jump on every bandwagon that surrounds a new player entering the club we would not respect our greatest legends. Gary Cahill will not go down as Chelsea’s greatest Centre Back (due to his predecessor) but his outstanding personality and underrated quality as a player will mean he is cherished by all fans who wish to remain true football fans.
Chelsea fans shouldn’t forget
Cahill: He’s won it all.
Thumbnail image courtesy of: talkSPORT
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