The matchday programme for last night’s fixture between Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt carried a captain’s column written for the final time by Gary Cahill.
In it, as well as reflecting on his Blues career, Cahill reserved a special thank you for the Chelsea fans. Below are his words…
It was nice to be able to say a proper goodbye to the club and the supporters on Sunday, and a proper thank you as well.
It was a great occasion at the end of the game, I really enjoyed it, my family was there too and it was special, off the back of a good result.
I heard the fans singing while I was warming up and that was a nice feeling. I’ve spent a lot of years here, I’ve had many, many, many good times and I’ve got great memories. This is a club I will never forget – the things I’ve achieved here and the friends I’ve made – it has been a massive part of my football career and my life.
Looking back at when I signed, I was just so excited to come to a big club and play at this level of the game. I look back now, thinking, “Why was I not more nervous in that Champions League run?” It was just pure excitement.
It was an incredible thing to be part of a team that made history in my first six months here, winning the Champions League in 2012. I’d wanted to be involved in that competition, and it was something very special. We all know how big it is, and how hard it is to win, so that stands out as a memory.
A very close second are the times I won the league. I’ve played in the Premier League for many years and I’d grown up watching it as a football fan, so I know how hard it is to get good results week in, week out. I had to play for a few years before I even got the move to a club that had a chance of winning it and to get over all those hurdles and get my hands on the trophy makes it very special indeed.
The consistency we showed to get to the end goal and win the title – in both 2014/15 and 2016/17 – was not easy, so those successes meant a lot to me. Lifting the Premier League trophy alongside John Terry (below) in 2017 was a great moment.
Once you win a major trophy, you just want more and more and that’swhat this club does to you. We have a winning mentality here and I definitely bought into that.
Looking back over my time here, it’s just memory after memory. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but we’ve had more good times than bad – that’s for sure. I look at my time here as a total success and I’m thankful to the club for giving me that opportunity and the platform to perform at the top level. I think we’ve been good for each other and I really enjoyed my time here.
Thank you all for your support, I am truly grateful. I’ll never forget it.
Chairman Bruce Buck also wrote about Cahill in last night’s programme. His words were:
On Sunday, we had the opportunity to bid farewell to Gary Cahill after more than seven years as a Chelsea player. In that time, Gary has lifted every major club honour and he has been a fantastic, committed servant. He will always be welcome back at Stamford Bridge and we wish him the best of luck wherever he chooses to go next.
There were also tributes to Cahill from captain Cesar Azpilicueta at the Chelsea Awards ceremony on Thursday night.
'He has been a very important part of the team and the club in the last seven years. He has won seven trophies, and hopefully an eighth trophy on May 29 in Baku!
'I have only good words for Gary. He has been a top professional and a top guy in the dressing room and I can only wish him the best for his future.'