Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2012
Date and Place of Birth
19th December 1985 - Sheffield
Transfers to and from Burnley
from Aston Villa - 9th November 2004 (loan)
returned - 9th May 2005
First and Last Burnley Games
Tottenham Hotspur (h) - 9th November 2004
Millwall (a) - 8th May 2005
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Loan players come, and loan players go. Some do well and some not so well, but they don't often make a major impact at a football club due to the fact that they are not there for very long. That could be said for just about all of the players who have played for the Clarets on loan, but not quite all, because in six months during the 2004/05 season one loan player changed all that.
A home defeat against Ipswich had cost us more than three points. Frank Sinclair had gone off injured after just seven minutes, and his central defensive partner John McGreal had struggled against injury and played the entire ninety minutes. Spurs were coming up in the League Cup and neither of them would be fit to play.
Michael Duff moved into the centre, and manager Steve Cotterill had to move quickly to bring in a player on loan. That player was 18-year-old Gary Cahill from Aston Villa. He'd played once for England Under-20s but hadn't figured for Villa, and the Sheffield born youngster duly arrived on a month's loan.
A Sheffield Wednesday fan but he'd been with Villa as an apprentice and just short of 19 he was playing reserve team football for his only club. This was the chance for him to get a handful of first team games under his belt.
He did OK against Spurs, although we lost 3-0, and it was happen as well we had him over the next few weeks. He did well in his early games, and with the injury problem not much better we were able to arrange another month with Villa taking us into 2005.
To say he played well is something of an understatement. In only his fourth game he won the Clarets Mad Man of the Match award, and then over the holiday period turned in two superb performances as we beat both Wigan and Stoke 1-0, even netting the only goal in the win at Stoke.
By then Cotterill was already doing his best to extend the loan, and he succeeded with a deal until the end of the season. By now the youngster had become a massive crowd favourite and it was no surprise as he turned in assured performance after assured performance, be it alongside Sinclair, McGreal or Duff. In one of his early games he gave away a last minute penalty that cost us the game at Plymouth, and I recall him being at fault with a goal at Sheffield United. They stand out simply because there were so few of them.
The fans were urging the club to sign him permanently, but that was never an option and it was clear that he had a future at the top level. Cotterill said that we could have some pride when we saw him playing in the Premiership, having played a part in his development.
Alas, the season came to an end as did Gary Cahill's time at Burnley. At the end of our last home game against Plymouth, when once again he'd been outstanding, he joined the rest of the squad in a lap of honour before taking a final bow himself.
He was back at Villa and out of contention and I'm sure we did test the water to see if it was possible to sign him either on loan or permanently. It came to nothing because he suddenly got his debut. Later that season he became a Villa hero after scoring a spectacular goal in the derby against Birmingham.
He became a regular member of the Villa squad under Martin O'Neill and also broken into the Under-21 squad, making his debut for them in the opening game at the new Wembley Stadium.
He played more games on loan for Burnley than anyone else has done, and two years on remains a name many Burnley fans talk about. Gary Cahill changed everything about loan players. He was with us for six months and did make a massive impact. He won the Clarets Mad Player of the Season Award and picked up several other awards from the Supporters Clubs at their end of season awards night. He is at least still playing his football in claret & blue.
Out of favour in the 2007/08 he made an apperance on the opening day of the season as a half time substitute in Villa's home defeat against Liverpool but following that Martin O'Neill accepted an offer for him from West Brom.
Gary turned that down but after being linked with a number of clubs he opted for a three month loan deal with Sheffield United on 19th September 2007. It gave him a return to his home city of Sheffield, and an opportunity for a Sheffield Wednesday supporter to play for Sheffield United.
Sheffield United wanted to make it a permanent signing but he move back to Villa in December to find that he was surplus to requirements in Martin O'Neill's squad, and on 30th January 2008 he joined Bolton Wanderers for an undisclosed sum believed to be close to £5 million. He signed a contract until the end of the 2010/11 season.
Cahill's first full season at Bolton saw him twice named on standby for the England squad and at the beginning of June 2009 he was called up for the World Cup qualifier against Khazakstan. Gary finally made his England debut, coming on as a substitute in a European Qualifier against Bulgaria at Wembley which England won 4-0.
His contract at Bolton was due to end at the end of the 2011/12 season and from the summer of 2011 Bolton manager Owen Coyle did his very best to sell him to prevent him leaving for nothing at the end of his contract. Despite all attempts, and a late call from Spurs, he remained at Bolton at the end of the summer window in 2011 but the inevitable move came in the next window when Gary signed for Chelsea for an undisclosed sum on 16th January 2012.