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Osman angers fans after taking aim at Tim Cahill

Ossie's comments in his autobiography cause a stir among the supporters.

Dave Thompson

As we have seen with Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane recently, making controversial, headline-grabbing statements will help a sportsman - or indeed anyone - sell more copies of your book.

Leon Osman, whose autobiography is out today, has had a fairly controversy-free career so his book was never going to contain some of the explosive outbursts that Keane or Fergie did.

However, extracts serialised in the Liverpool Echo, designed to drum up publicity, have certainly grabbed the attention of the fans, but not perhaps in the way Osman intended.

The midfielder spoke about his admiration of David Moyes and how he genuinely believed the Scot did not know anything about the Man Utd job, despite conveniently running his contract down at Goodison Park.

He also defends Moyes over his behaviour last summer regarding Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, saying he was simply doing his job, like Roberto Martinez was when he went back to Wigan to sign Antolin Alcaraz, Joel Robles, Arouna Kone and James McCarthy.

What he didn't mention though was the now infamous 'derisory' double transfer bid for Baines and Fellaini or comments made about how Moyes would have let them "go for the good of their careers" if he was still in charge at Goodison. That is what made the supporters turn on their former manager.

It was his comments about Tim Cahill though that has irked the fans the most.

It is important to state that Osman praises Cahill in other parts of his book but the section serialised by the Echo has not gone down well.

Speaking about David Moyes' final home game against West Ham, which saw Moyes, Phil Neville and Tim Cahill appear on the pitch after the game, Osman said:

"I was desperate to play in our final home game against West Ham, even though I wasn't really fully fit, because we were saying goodbye to Moyesy. He was given a fantastic send-off by our fans and it was really fitting.

"But what I found strange was what happened at the end. Phil Neville, a great servant and club captain, was retiring so he came on the pitch through a guard of honour. Brilliant and quite right too.

"Next, our manager who has been there for 11 years. That should have been it but who comes on the pitch last? Tim Cahill!

"He'd come to watch the game and should have been out first, but he was last as though he was the big draw for the day. I just couldn't believe it. It was incredible.

"I know Tim hadn't actually asked for it to be done that way but if it was me I wouldn't have had the front to impose on such a special occasion.

"Tim should have declined the offer in my opinion. He'd been unbelievable for Everton, one of the best signings ever, but that was Nev and Moyesy's moment and not his."

As ever with these things, some supporters completely ignored the nice things Osman said about Cahill and focused on the negatives.

Releasing books while still playing is one of my - and many supporters - bugbears anyway and picking on one ofEverton's best players of recent times is unlikely to help Osman's cause.

I can understand why Osman thinks Cahill should have taken a back seat, given the Australian had left the club nine months previously. However, Cahill had been invited back by the club as he had left the previous summer without any sort of farewell. And as he was one of Moyes' best ever signings and perhaps of symbol of his Everton team, I think was fitting that the end of an era was marked with all three men together on the field, regardless of the order they came out.

The comments drew a stinging reaction from fans on social media, and it does seem an error by Osman to pick on Cahill, who remains a hugely iconic figure among Evertonians and perhaps only second to big Dunc in the popularity stakes.

Osman on the other hand is more of a divisive figure. His commitment to the cause cannot be doubted but many fans have questioned his ability, even though David Moyes and now Roberto Martinez have seen him as a valuable member of the squad.

Therefore supporters will always look for reasons to have a pop at Osman. If he makes a mistake on the field he always seems to get it in the neck more than most and it seems some fans cannot wait to have a go at him over this as well.

Cahill responded on Twitter by posting this:

A response likely to garner further support, though the Australian, I imagine, is unlikely to take great offence to Osman's comments given they were so close when together at Goodison. His reaction suggests that people are over-reacting and need to calm down. Indeed it wouldn't surprise me if this was one big joke and Cahill is in on it.

As ever with these things it is important not to jump to immediate conclusions, even if many on Twitter (unsurprisingly) have. Osman's comments need to be put in the context of the rest of the book and with the need to stir up controversy in order to sell more copies.

Given the meltdown on Twitter on Tuesday night that plan has worked perfectly, though it will be interesting to see what reception the midfielder gets against Swansea on Saturday.