EVERTON’S renowned team spirit will not be dented by Tim Cahill’s departure for New York, says former team-mate Alan Stubbs.
The Australian international was a popular figure at Finch Farm, and helped embody the spiky, competitive attitude David Moyes was keen to engender in his squad.
But reserve team boss Stubbs, a senior member of the squad when Cahill arrived in 2004, insists there are enough big personalities at the club for the dressing room status quo to remain.
He said: “Tim played a key role at the club – not just on the pitch but off it as well – and I think everyone involved will always be grateful for that. We’ve lost a character but I would say, at this time, we have a lot of characters in the dressing room so losing one is not going to be that big of a burden.
“It’s like everything in football – Everton will carry on and go forwards.”
Stubbs was playing for the first team when Cahill, then a 24-year-old arriving from Millwall, went on to become top-scorer, win Player of the Season and help the team finish fourth.
“When he looks back this will be the move that defined his career,” Stubbs added. “It more or less made him what he was.
“When he first came to Everton he was a quiet lad but then suddenly his personality took over and he soon became an important part of the team. It was more for his performances.
“He wasn’t what you would call a big guy but on the pitch he had a big part to play in the team. He was a pest to play against – a defender’s nightmare. He had a great spring, great timing in the box and scored important goals.
“Not a lot of people knew about him when he first came but he had a really good five years.
“In the last few years, the goals have dried up a bit but he was still an important part of the team in the role that he played. We will always be thankful for that.”