Cahill is wrong to hold Melbourne City to ransom

Tim Cahill's hardly veiled threat to Melbourne City that he would quit the club if he does not get more game time in the A-League does not do him or his reputation any justice.

Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill celebrates the Socceroos' win over Honduras Source: Getty Images

Cahill has achieved legendary status in the Australian game but that does not give him the right to hold his club to ransom.

The talismanic striker, who is the Socceroos' highest scorer with 50 goals, is 37 years old and realises that unless he plays regular club football he stands little chance of being fit enough to be named in Australia's squad to compete at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in seven months.

Cahill has played and scored in three successive World Cups and is seeking an Australian record fourth appearance in the world's biggest sporting event.


Cahill is under contract with City - with the playing side of his deal expiring in June - and for him to declare publicly that he wants more games or else he'll "find a way to play more" smacks of selfishness and unprofessionalism.

Cahill has been used sparingly by City this season and started only one match - against Sydney FC - just before the first leg of the intercontinental play-off against Honduras.

He is paid handsomely for being the flag bearer of City - the club that still lives in the shadow of crosstown rivals the Victory - and the last thing coach Warren Joyce needs at such a crucial stage of the season is for his most famous player to want out in a bid to pursue his individual goals.

Players hardly lose in such standoffs but that does not make it any less unfair on the clubs.

This unpleasant Cahill saga should serve as a test case and it is in football's best interests that City do not become the losers here.

Cahill's presence in Russia is crucial to the Socceroos' chances of doing well in the competition but that is not the point. No player is bigger than the game, not even one of Cahill's stature and popularity.
I cannot imagine other Socceroos players who might feel they are not getting enough game time and are getting nervous about their national selection prospects going up to their club manager and warning him 'I want to play more or I'm outta here'.

Cahill has changed the face of Australian football ever since he come on as a substitute and scored two goals in that famous 3-1 victory over Japan in Kaiserslautern at the 2006 World Cup.

And he has continued to virtually carry the national team on his broad shoulders with his scoring exploits in just about every corner of the world.

He is without doubt the greatest Socceroo of all time but many in the game believe he tends to make it all about himself sometimes.

He berated the Australian media in no uncertain terms for ignoring the significance of the Socceroos' 2-1 victory over Syria (in which he scored the two goals) and concentrating on the story about coach Ange Postecoglou's intention to quit the national team.

Yet soon after the Socceroos sealed their fourth straight World Cup qualification with a 3-1 win over Honduras he in turn chose to largely ignore the ramifications of the momentous event to reveal his personal ambitions and how he "would do anything" to realise them.

It is an unfortunate scenario that needs to be resolved because, let's face it, Cahill is now a veteran yet he still is indispensable for the Socceroos if they are to leave their mark on the World Cup.

Most supporters would prefer Cahill to deliver for the Socceroos than for his club but the fans do not pay his wages so we should spare a thought for City.

The options are three: (a) City and Cahill agree to mutually terminate the contract, giving the player the freedom to look for another club; (b) the club stands firm and refuses to let him go anywhere; and (c) the player quits and the club demands compensation for break of contract.

This is not the first time that a player has taken this course of action and got away with it.

And if the truth be told, it is crucially important that Cahill gets to the World Cup in the best possible condition.

But for a person of Cahill's stature to make his grievance known via national television only minutes after the Socceroos qualified for the World Cup showed he was grasping an opportunity to win a sympathy vote.

It is not the kind of opportunism we have become used to from Cahill.

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4 min read
Published 18 November 2017 at 3:06pm
By Philip Micallef