Cahill: a local lad done very well

Bolton vs Sheffield United, FA Cup 4th Round ''Sheff Utd , s Henri Camara     &     Bolton,s Gary Cahill
Bolton vs Sheffield United, FA Cup 4th Round ''Sheff Utd , s Henri Camara & Bolton,s Gary Cahill

Without doubt, Gary Cahill is the most costly man ever to emerge from Dronfield.

The England defender signed five-year contract with Chelsea when he moved south from Bolton to Stamford Bridge for £7m earlier this month.

That was in addition to the £5m the Trotters spent on him four years ago when he switched from Aston Villa to the Reebok Stadium.

Not bad for a youngster who learned his trade with AFC Dronfield, and grew up in the shadow of St John the Baptist Church.

Cahill may now have all the trappings of fame and fortune but it was on the Sunday circuit, against teams from north Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, where the central defender cut his teeth.

Graham Bearder, president of AFC Dronfield, is rightly proud that his club, based at Gosforth Fields, played an important part in producing a footballer of international pedigree.

He says Cahill, now aged 26, grew up in the town, attended Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School and that his parents still live locally.

Such was Cahill’s astounding talent that he played in an age group a year ahead of himself and operated mostly as a midfielder.

His genius with the ball attracted scouts from far and wide and it was soon clear that a golden future awaited the AFC Dronfield starlet

Cahill put pen to paper with Aston Villa in his early teens and his career quickly went stratospheric.

After graduating from the Villa Park academy, the 6ft 3in man was loaned out to Burnley and Sheffield United where his resolute performances won him many friends at Bramall Lane.

Four years ago, Bolton flashed the cash and Villa were unable to resist a sale as Cahill moved to Lancashire.

He quickly settled in the North West where he became a firm fans’ favourite and his career blossomed under the captaincy Kevin Davies, the former Chesterfield FC man.

England honours followed and he has now opted for Stamford Bridge where he will, no doubt, one day assume the mantle of the ageing John Terry.

But however high he flies, Bearder is convinced that he will never forget his roots.

He has attended AFC Dronfield end-of-season awards evenings at the Sheffield Park Hotel at Meadowhead and Graham is confident that Cahill will keep in touch.

As they say, you can take the boy out of Dronfield, but you can never take Dronfield out of the boy. Welcome to the North Derbyshire Sporting Hall of Fame, Gary. Your entry is long overdue.

l Do you know of any sporting stars from the post World War Two era who should be included in the North Derbyshire Sporting Hall of Fame? If you do, email your entries to