The Pecking Order Blog


Post by Cody Shorter / 26 May 2017 / 0 Comments

Australian Football Library

Book Review

Legacy by Tim Cahill


Who’s it for?

While it can and should be enjoyed by any footballing fan, we recommend you give this to young boys and girls who have aspirations to play football professionally.

Cody’s rating – 6.0 out of 10

Jake’s rating – 5.0 out of 10


Where to Get it?


Book Depository

QBD Books


From the Blurb

It’s an unlikely footballing fairy tale. Born in Sydney to a Samoan mother and Londoner father, Timothy Cahill grew up in the sprawling western suburbs, where cricket and rugby league ruled. It was a long way from his father’s beloved West Ham and the English game that transfixed a young Tim with his own unlikely dreams of one day playing professionally.

Growing up in the 1980s, life for Tim was about family, football and more football – training, playing and watching it with his brothers. Beginning as the youngest and smallest boy on the field, Tim steadily worked his way through the local club sides with an on-field toughness and intelligence that made the unlikely a possibility.

By the time he was a teenager, Tim’s parents boldly applied for a bank loan to fund his travels to England. It was an act of faith repaid with a successful trial for Millwall, the storied London club. After 249 appearances and 56 goals and cult-hero status among the fans, he signed for Everton, where he would enjoy a highly successful Premiership and stellar international career – leaving the legacy of becoming one of the most admired and respected Australian sportsmen of all time.

With his trademark honestly and candour, Tim reflects on what it takes to make it to the top – the sacrifices, the physical cost, the mental stamina, the uncompromising self-belief, but also the loyalty, the integrity and the generosity. An autobiography that is more than a record of the goals and the games, Tim Cahill’s story is a universal reminder of the importance of making your moment count.


Our review   

Cody –

The book is very easy to read with many page-turning stories from Tim’s early footballing days in Western Sydney to dressing room banter with footballing icons. While the book is an easy read, I wouldn’t classify it as a classic.

I found myself wishing I received this sort of message when I was 13 and wanted to play professionally. To encapsulate Tim’s message, I’ve picked this quote from the book:

It’s a hard truth: reaching the pinnacle of anything requires not only talent, and good fortune, but also a single-mindedness towards those things you can control – if you’re disciplined enough.

Jake –

I really wanted to enjoy this one – Timmy is an Australian football legend and seems like a great guy. But I just didn’t enjoy his writing style and found myself wanting more from the stories he tells. I even read it twice and found myself more disappointed the second time around.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some interesting chapters and great lessons for young, aspiring footballers. Timmy’s account of his youth days in Australia and being told he was too small to make it as a professional footballer, his single-minded determination and commitment to prove those people wrong, and the all-or-nothing leap of faith move to England, were all remarkable stories. They tell of a kid with an all-consuming passion and desire – something most of us think we understand but probably never experience.

I also enjoyed the football specific stories from his apprenticeship at Millwall and making it to the Premier League with Everton, and of the relationships he had (and still has) with those he played with.

Where the book let me down was in the fact that, despite Tim telling us that as someone with a Samoan heritage, he is always honest and wears his heart on his sleeve, a lot of what he wrote didn’t feel genuine to me. There were opportunities for him to really open up about certain events in his career and it seemed to me that he was holding back, or worse, saying what he thought was better for his brand (e.g. I’d suggest that Tim’s account of his confrontation with Kabaye and subsequent red card in May 2012 is missing some detail).

And finally, on the title of the book itself (Legacy). There’s no doubt that as a footballer Tim will leave an incredible legacy, and the stories in this book are a great reminder and proof of that. His post-playing legacy is yet to be seen, and I hope it works out just as well. But based on the attitude that comes across in this book, I get the impression that it’s very much Tim’s (Everton’s) way or nothing. And I’m not sure how well that will work in the arena of player development.


Some interesting tidbits and quotes

  • During youth football, Tim always played up at least 1 age division.
  • For all those who want Tim’s recipe for heading success: Heading well takes a combination of vertical leap, anticipation, intuition, and a healthy dose of improvisation.
  • The first person Tim met when he was on his first trial in England at Millwall was Paul Ifill (who later played in the A-league for Wellington Phoenix).
  • When Tim signed for Millwall, one of the first-team starters was fellow Aussie Lucas Neill.
  • Tim played in the 2004 FA Cup final, losing 3 nil to Manchester United.
  • In the same game that Tim scored his first Premier League goal, he was also sent off (against Manchester City).