Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Families in Football’ series. Over the next few weeks, we take a look at siblings, cousins and even parents and children that have played the beautiful game. Some have played cup finals together while others have been on opposing sides. Today, we look at Steven and Gary Caldwell.
Families in Football: Steven and Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell began his journey as a footballer playing at Celtic Boys Club but at age 16 he moved to England and joined Newcastle United alongside his older brother Steven. He failed to make an appearance for the Magpies and spent time away from St. James’ Park on loan.
He left Tyneside during the 2003/04 season and return to Scotland by joining Hibernian on a free transfer. The move was a short-term contract until the end of the season before signing a two-year deal in the summer of 2004.
However, he would be at the centre of transfer controversy in the 2005/06 season when news broke that whilst at Hibs he had signed a pre-contract deal with Celtic. This was not well received by the Hibs fans and when he played against Aberdeen he was left in no doubt of the fans feelings.
At Celtic, he enjoyed a successful period by winning the Scottish Premiership twice as well as the League Cup and Scottish FA Cup but was never really a hit with the fans at first. His first season was blighted by injuries but eventually, he won them over and earned the 2008/09 Writers’ Player of the Year award.
2010 saw him leave Scotland and join Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee, and he made his debut in a 2-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers. He became club captain in the 2010/11 season after Mario Melchiot left the club and he became a key part of the squad that went on to stun football by winning the 2013 FA Cup, although he could do nothing to help the club avoid relegation from the Premier League in the same season.
He finally retired from football in 2015 after a long-term hip injury meant he was unable to continue at an elite level. He also represented Scotland 22 times during his career.
Gary stayed on at Wigan as a coach and was appointed manager in April 2015. Although he was unable to help the Latics avoid relegation from the Championship, he led the club to promotion from League One at the first attempt. He also had spells at Chesterfield and Partick Thistle.
Steven Caldwell was just 14 years old when he joined Newcastle United. In the 1999/00 season, he made it into the first-team squad but didn’t play as he only appeared as an unused substitute.
There was competition for places at Newcastle and this meant that Caldwell was in and out of the side, often finding himself on the pitch one week and on the bench the next. By the time the 2001/02 season came around he was struggling to get game time and after playing in three Intertoto Cup games, he moved on loan to Blackpool on a one-month deal. Steven made six appearances for the club but returned to Newcastle at the end of the spell.
He went back out on loan to Bradford City, making nine appearances on another one-month loan deal. Sir Bobby Robson then told Caldwell to fight for his place at Newcastle but he wouldn’t make his first appearance until November 2002 when he scored in a 2-0 win over North East rivals Middlesbrough. By the end of 2002 he had made six appearances and by the end of that season a total of 17 appearances across all competitions.
After playing 37 times for Newcastle, he finally left the club and in May 2004 he joined bitter rivals, Sunderland, on a free transfer for three years. He formed a solid partnership with Gary Breen and scored the winning goal against Leicester City to secure promotion back to the Premier League.
Injuries would then start to blight his career but he would spend three-and-a-half years at Burnley, where he won promotion to the Premier League, before spells with Wigan and Birmingham City.
Steven then moved to Canada in 2013 where he joined Toronto on loan before joining the MLS side on a permanent basis.
Like his brother, Steven also represented Scotland but managed just 12 caps for the senior side.
Games Played Together and Against
Despite only making 12 Scotland appearances, Steven would share the international stage with his brother on seven occasions. The duo also played together in three games for Wigan but failed to win.
The brothers never played on opposing sides but came close when Burnley played Wigan, although Steven missed the game through injury.
The first domestic game the brothers played together came in a 3-0 loss against Arsenal, with Steven and Gary Caldwell the centre-back pairing. The latter was sent off after conceding a penalty in the match.
Since moving to Canada, Steven has become the president of League1 Ontario club Oakville Blue Devils and has also served as the assistant coach of the Canadian national team.