|2012-15||New York Red Bulls||62||14||55||0||0||0||1||2|
It is no surprise that largest collection of cards, stickers, programmes and other items is of the greatest Socceroo Tim Cahill. While there may be arguments about who is the best Australian footballer Tim Cahill has certainly made the greatest contribution to the success of the Socceroos.
Tim Cahill’s professional career began in 1998 in the English Championship. From his 217 appearances over the seven years the Tim Cahill collection includes ten Millwall programmes. One of the most special programmes in the whole Socceroo and Matilda collection is a 2002 English Fourth Round FA Cup tie between Millwall and Blackburn Rovers (Pictured Right). The programme features both Tim Cahill and former Millwall player and future Australian captain, Lucas Neill on the cover. The even stronger Australian connection is that the match was played on the Australia Day (albeit for most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and many other Australians it is an inappropriate date to chose for our National Day and it is also known as Invasion Day).
Tim Cahill finally made his debut for Australia in an international friendly against South Africa on 30th March 2004. He had played for Samoa as a 14 year old and until FIFA changed the eligibility rules he was unable to play for Australia. The programme from his Socceroo debut has Mark Viduka on the cover and has been signed by Tim on the back. The collection also includes the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup and World Cup Qualifying Tournament Programmes where Tim Cahill scored his first five goals for Australia. On the 7th April 2004, Tim appeared on the cover of this last Millwall home programme where he is shown running with his shirt off celebrating his winning goal, against Sunderland in the FA cup Semi- Final. The goal put Millwall into their 1st and still only FA Cup Final. The same image is later featured on a Millwall card that is one of a seven cards from a 2017 Anonymous Chinese Issue that celebrates Tim Cahill’s Club and Socceroo career. From his last match for Millwall match until he returned 14 years later is the FA Cup Final Programme against Manchester United. There was no shirt off celebration this time, with Manchester United winning 3-0.
His transfer to English Premier League club Everton, at the start of the 2004-05 resulted in the first of many Tim Cahill cards and stickers, The Rookie Tim Cahill Everton card was produced by Magic Box International and the same image was used on one of three stickers issued by Merlin for the 2004_05 season. The 2004-05 season also saw the issue of an unusual card and stamp collection that celebrated an Everton Victory. Each card has an image from the game and a Grenada stamp on the front, match report and pictures of goal scorers on the back. The three Victory cards from the 2004-05 season include the celebration following Cahill’s first goal for Everton.
For Tim Cahill and other Socceroos the main focus in 2005/06 was the World Cup qualification matches and subsequent tournament. Often the same player picture is used on multiple cards stickers. Interesting in 2005 an image of Tim Cahill on top of Australian players following a goal at the 2005 Confederations Cup was used on the cover of both the programmes for the World Cup Qualifying matches against the Solomon Islands and the now famous return leg against Uruguay where Australia qualified for their 1st World Cup since 1974.
Qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany meant for the first time cards and stickers of Tim Cahill as a Socceroo were issued. It is worth noting, compared to numerous subsequent World Cup issues he appeared on only three cards and six stickers. One unusual card was from the French Magazine Super Foot that features an image in his Everton Kit on the front and in his Socceroo kit on the back. (Pictured Left). This concept of an Everton/Australia card was also on two cards by Norwegian card company Boing in 2006 and 2010. There were also two sets of Australian World Cup playing cards issued: a portrait set and an action set. The playing cards manufacturer is unknown and the images are of poor quality but the action set has some interesting images. The collection also includes programmes, tickets from the World Cup and even hospitality passes for the match against Brazil.
Post the World Cup in 2006 and 2007 additional World Cup and Australia cards were issued. This included the first Socceroo & A-League issue by Select, Australia’s major sports trading card producer. In the first Select series there is an individual Tim Cahill card and two others for his and Australia’s first two goals scored at a World Cup. State based newspapers also produced a card and medallion Socceroo collection. There were 15 players featured in most newspapers (Cahill card number 4) and for the Brisbane Courier and Sunday Mail he is number 3 of 20. He was also the face of the breakfast cereal, Weet-Bix’s advertising campaign and along with eight other Socceroos appeared on their cards which were included in the cereal.
Following the 2006 World Cup Australia’s home match day programmes were called the “The Socceroo” . Tim Cahill, together with Harry Kewell and Craig Moore were featured on the cover of the first programme celebrating Moore’s successful penalty against Croatia at the 2006 World Cup. Cahill also featured of the cover of the official magazine of the Asian Cup. 2007 also saw Futera, which was then still arguably the World’s Premier Trading Card company produced its first Tim Cahill card and the next year the collection has its first one of one autograph card from the Futera 2008 World Football Online Game Card Collection.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the the qualification rounds saw a significant increase in Tim Cahill cards and stickers compared to Germany. There are 10 World Cup Tim Cahill stickers and 19 cards, including a now almost “extinct” Phone Card featuring both Australian coach Pim Verbeek and Tim Cahill. In addition to the expanded Topps and Panini issues the collection includes cards, playing cards and stickers issued by card companies from Argentina, China, Chile, Croatia and Serbia. The most unusual and probably controversial item i is a sticker issued by Luxor of Serbia. The sticker features a cartoon image of Tim Cahill with a policeman hat and cufflinks. I assume the concept is based on the 2008 goal celebration at Everton whereas a tribute to his brother who had been sentenced to six years in prison he pretended his wrists were handcuffed.
2012 is a significant year for Tim Cahill and the Collection. The 2011-12 season was the last one that Tim Cahill played for Everton. The collection includes the 2012 Topps Match Attax Premier League Card Australian box that features the base Tim Cahill Everton Card, that card, Russian edition of the card, the final club issued matchday programme, Topps Authentics Card and Topps Sticker. The last Everton item in the collection, issued while he was still playing, is the 2012 FA Cup Semi-Final programme between Liverpool and Everton. Stephen Gerrard and Tim Cahill are on the cove and it is autographed by both players. At the end of the 2011-12 English Premier League season Tim Cahill transferred to the play for MLS team New York Red Bulls which was half way through their 2012 season. Consequently Upper Deck issued a Tim Cahill “Update” card.
United States is the probably the home of collector cards with rare Baseball cards having sold for hundred of thousands of dollars. For “Soccer Cards” card companies have been prolific with their number card issues and design variations, particularly for the high profile players. From the 2103 and 2014 seasons the collection includes 55 New York Red Bulls Tim Cahill Cards issued by Topps. Varieties of cards include “Retro Design” cards based on old English Designs. The Tim Cahill card (picture right) is based on the card designs from the early 70s and you can see the similarities when comparing these cards to the Topps 1976 Adrian Alston, Luton Town card. The back of the Tim Cahill card honours that in October 2013 Tim Cahill had scored the fastest goal in MLS history. The same image is usually used on each of the “Rainbow’ cards but with colour and design print variations, different numbers of cards printed and usually ending with a ‘unique” one card print run. These Topps Tim Cahill “Rainbow” cards are the first of their kind in the whole Socceroo collection with the 2013 base set being a complete seven card set. Other variations include, old cigarette style cards, other mini-sized rainbow cards, kit relics rainbow cards and a printing plate card.
The FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brasil again saw a significant increase in the number and variations of cards and stickers issued. In particular China & South American issue many cards including playing cards which featured a Tim Cahill image. Of note, the day after they played South Africa in the last friendly in Australia (Tim Cahill is on the cover of the programme) before heading to Brasil the FFA issued a 3o card squad set for $25. The quickly sold for $90 the next day and the full set has not been seen since. While Tim Cahill is known for “headers” the Tim Cahill card does have him setting up for a headshot. Panini, the “Official World Cup” card company produced two Rainbow sets featuring Tim Cahill. A standard set with 15 cards (the collection has 13 of those cards) and an Aerial Assault 13 set of cards (the collection has 12 cards). The other collecting card trend set was for both sets the issue of limited 55 cards only available at a Card Convention convention (55) and for the base set Fathers Day Card Limited to 7 cards. The Aerial Assault series was fitting as it was a header against Chile that was his 4th World Cup goal and prompted the match commentator to state “If Cahill took a penalty he would probably use his head!” However no one did foresee the beautiful volley goal against Brazil that is considered his greatest world cup goal and maybe his greatest. The collection includes two cards and a postcard showing Tim Cahill’s goal celebration.
A new Australian Card producer”Tap’n Play” entered the market in 2014 . The Collection includes the first card produced being a limited edition Tim Cahill card that was inserted into magazines. In January 2015 Australia hosted the the AFC Asian Cup, the Collection includes programmes, promotional brochures, flyers and stickers featuring Tim Cahill as well as the tickets form all games he played in. It also includes a very nice designed OPTA virtual card that could be downloaded from the FFA website. Following Australia being crowned champions Tap’n Play issued a limited edition (100) cards featuring the all players in the squad. The collection includes the Tim Cahill and the Cover pack where he is also pictured. At a club level Tim Cahill transferred from the New York Red Bulls in the Major Soccer League to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in the Chinese Super League. The collection includes five Chinese manufactured cards featuring Tim Cahill playing for Shanghai Greenland Shenhua and one in an Australian kit.
Two and half years after leaving Everton, Topps in their 2015-16 Match Attax Premier League set produced an Tim Cahill ‘Cult Hero” Everton card. Tap’n’ Play in their second year significantly increased both the design and quality of their cards, The collection includes all three base, silver and gold versions of the standard card and a very nice Sharp Shooter card.
At a club level at the start of the 2016 Chinese Super League Tim Cahill transferred from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to Hangzhou Greentown. The collection has two Tim Cahill Hangzhou Greentown cards. Later in 2016 Tim Cahill came home for the first time to play professionally at club level in Australia for the first time. He joined Melbourne City in the A-League. His first game in the A-League, a local derby against Melbourne City he could not started his A-League career anymore spectacularly when from just over half way he struck the ball that went over Melbourne Victory’s keeper Lawrence. The clip of that goal went viral all over the world. The subsequent goal celebration is pictured on two Melbourne City cards, one programme and one promotional brochure. When the 2016 Tap’n Play Offical Football Australia Trading Cards were released Tim Cahill appeared on eight cards, three Melbourne City cards and five Australia cards including a signature card.
In 2017 Australia represented Asia at the last Confederations Cup, which was held in Russia. The collection includes the official programme, three game tickets, a Panini sticker and two Russian cards. Also in the collection is the flyers and tickets from the final stages of the World Cup qualifying campaign In November 2017 Panini America released a Select Soccer Set a that included three Tim Cahill type Rainbow sets. The collection includes the complete 13 Rainbow, well designed, standard cards.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia again saw an increasing number of Tim Cahill World Cup items in terms of both volumes and variety. In terms of stickers there are 21 stickers with increasing numbers from Eastern Europe even including a sticker from a Georgian Album and with Peru qualifying for the 1st time since 1982 there are multiple various anonymous issues have come out. The most interesting Tim Cahill sticker is the Tschutti Heftli issue. Since 2008 the former Swiss Fanzine magazine has invited artists to bid for designing each competing countries stickers for the Euros and World Cups. The 2018 sticker perfectly reflect Tim Cahill’s mixed heritage. Panini again expanded the number or Rainbows in its base set to 24! The collection has 18 of these cards. The featured player index card is also part of that Prizm issue with one player chosen to be at the centre of each country’s landmarks. Panini America sold before the commencement of the World Cup an Instant three card rainbow set “Class of the Cup” with Tim Cahill being the one player from Australia. The image chosen for all cards was from the World Cup. Having purchased the cards it just another reason to worry that Tim Cahill was not going to see any game time!
At this stage the collection finishes with a 2018 Futera Memorabilia Card, a Jameshedpur virtual birthday, his last Soccer match ticket and a 2019 Merlins Premier League sticker. Off course the collection of Australia’s greatest Socceroo will never be complete.