Tim Cahill says Sunday’s victory over West Ham United was the perfect opportunity for him to say a final thank you to the Everton fans.
With manager David Moyes and captain Phil Neville bidding their farewells, the Australian international also made one last appearance on the Goodison Park pitch after returning for the first time since joining New York Red Bulls.
Cahill, who ended his eight-year stay with the Blues last summer, was in action for his current club against New England Revolution on Saturday.
But he was so intent on attending the historic day at Goodison that he boarded a transatlantic flight straight after the 1-1 draw and arrived in Merseyside just hours before kick-off.
“It’s something that I will never forget. I’m really happy that I did it and I was welcomed back by the gaffer and the chairman. It was something special,” Cahill told evertontv.
“I haven’t been back here to say goodbye to the fans. This was the first time I have been back to Goodison, just to pay respects to the fans and the gaffer. It’s the end of an adventure for all of us.
“I can’t say a big enough thank you to the fans and how much they mean to me. Every time I play football I think of the fans and even though I have moved on they have been one of the biggest influences on my career.
“I would just like to say a massive thank you to them.”
Cahill watched the 2-0 win over the Hammers from the directors’ box and he admitted that the experience brought back many fond memories.
He added: “It was emotional to sit in the crowd and with the chairman, talking about Everton, how much we love the club and how things are changing.
“It’s exciting but it’s hard to take in because it’s a big part of my life and it has moulded me as a footballer.”