Former teammates Neil Harris (current manager) and Tim Cahill reunite.
Former teammates Neil Harris (current manager) and Tim Cahill reunite.

Why Cahill’s Millwall move is no PR stunt

THE band really is back together. Tim Cahill's Millwall reunion is a family affair, and it seems a perfect way to bring his career full circle.

It's not just the fact that Millwall's manager, Neil Harris, was both a teammate and roommate of Cahill during the Socceroo's first stint at the club from 1998-2004.

Harris's assistant, David Livermore, played alongside Cahill for the Lions too - as did academy director Scott Fitzgerald. The reminiscences should be fun.

Former teammates Neil Harris (current manager) and Tim Cahill reunite.
Former teammates Neil Harris (current manager) and Tim Cahill reunite.

But there is also a serious purpose to Cahill's arrival, way beyond any simple PR benefits. Millwall have had a decent season in the Championship, especially given their financial constraints, but the margins are fine and it could have been an even better season.

Sitting 15th, Millwall have scored 33 goals in 28 games, and drawn more than a third of those matches. A glut of goals in January can't disguise the fact that scoring has been a problem for large parts of the season: in October they scored three league goals, in November it was two.

If Cahill, most likely as a pinch-hitter off the bench, can help to push that goals-per-game ratio upwards, then his new/old club will quickly climb the table. Making the play-offs, with a gap of 14 points to make up, isn't likely, but a top-half finish would be a significant achievement.

Can Cahill still make an impact? Absolutely, with a career full of street smarts and football intelligence. The instinct for where to be is something that age hasn't dulled.

 

Cahill and Harris during the 2004 FA Cup final against Sunderland.
Cahill and Harris during the 2004 FA Cup final against Sunderland.

 

And if he shows that, if his minutes on the pitch begin to accumulate, if the physical rigours of a tough league like the Championship don't damage him, then there is no reason why Cahill can't dream of going to a fourth World Cup.

When Bert van Marwijk assess the talent on offer for the Socceroos, it's hard to imagine him settling on alternative strike options and discarding the country's record goalscorer.

As Ange Postecoglou knew only too well, Cahill is still in the national team because no one has made a sustained case to succeed him.


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