Timm: The Perfect Norfolk Eccentric

07/10/20

Timm has gone. Probably forever. In issue 3 of the ACN print fanzine, while Klose still wore the yellow and green, Zoë Whitford wrote about what makes him particularly brilliant. Seems like a good time to share it here now.....

It was January 2016, and Norwich City’s first season back in the Premier League was not going well. Alex Neil seemed to have lost his confidence, leaving his side of natural attackers lost in a world of tactics that came unnaturally to them. City’s transfer window screamed THIS IS OUR LAST SHOT, and amid the flurry of new arrivals was Swiss international Timm Klose, who had played for Wolfsburg in the Champions League.

Klose’s arrival sparked an almost immediate upturn in fortunes for Norwich, and he started to have such an influence that it began to feel that this tall, languid, behemoth of a defender might be able to keep City up all by himself. That’s when he got injured, landing awkwardly in a defeat against Crystal Palace in April, and everything suddenly felt doomed once more.

With such an illustrious pedigree and having such an influence in his first few months in Norwich, it seemed that keeping hold of Timm in the summer after relegation was a lost cause. But that is ignoring the fact that a love affair between a footballer and a city – a county, even – had already sparked into life.

Because Timm is unlike other footballers. He’s guided by his heart, not his head. He immerses himself in his surroundings; he wants to be happy. But, more than that: he’s also delightfully, unusually, and brilliantly mad. Timm is a high camp one-man Eurovision party, so unlike any other footballer that it’s quite simple to forget that footballer is actually his job.

Soon after arriving in East Anglia, he was sightseeing in Cambridge in cobalt blue trousers, shoes and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. He used Snapchat and Instagram to document his trips to the Norfolk coast. Indeed, he seemed deeply enamoured with the coast. Could it be enough to make him stay?

It did make him stay. The official line was that Timm was up for the fight to get City back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. While there may have been a sliver of truth to this cliché, the reality of the matter was that Timm had plenty of opportunity to be up for the fight anywhere in Europe. Euro 2016 may have been off the table, but there was still a place in a strong Swiss squad to fight for. No, Timm stayed for Norfolk, he stayed because he was content.

In the years that have since passed, the sheer heft of Timm’s talent has been somewhat weakened by a bout of terrible luck with injury. But he has still had his moments on the pitch: his face contorted in a roar of passion after the equaliser against Ipswich; that dummy in the dying moments of the game against Nottingham Forest as he transformed into Martin Peters and Onel Hernandez somersaulted as if Simone Biles had taken part in a 97 minute floor routine.

What is it with Timm and final minutes? His record suggests that this is a man who understands the narrative of football; he is less caught up in the game and more considerate of the story. What’s more, chasing games as the seconds tick agonisingly past allows him to tap into his more flamboyant tendencies. A centre-back built like a debonair giraffe waltzing around in midfield in the 35th minute is too risky, sure. But when he does it in the 91st minute it suddenly becomes ‘unsettling’ for the opposition and has the power to enforce change.

The dream of a fully-fit Klose, back to his best at Carrow Road, remains. It is testament to the performances of Ben Godfrey and Christoph Zimmermann in the Championship that it became easy to forget just how good Timm can be. But amid all the injuries and bad luck in the Premier League, his absence hit hard once more. It is certainly still true that he has the talent and the leadership that could make a real difference – whether that is for a relegation scrap or a promotion push.

But it has been off the field that Timm continues to be a real force to be reckoned with. No one – absolutely no one – found the ‘It’s me, it’s Tettey’ video for Wes’s farewell funnier than Timm did, which he showed by crying hysterical tears on an Instagram story. He became a friend of the Horsey seals (he can’t keep away from the coast). He continued to support Norwich City fanatically from his sickbed (injury bed?), revelling in every success.

His latest injury was a devastating blow for both Timm and those who are so keen to see him succeed. It was obvious on his social media feed how much the time spent in a restrictive brace was getting him down. Plenty of players get injured, but very few react to their healing by holding a candlelit funeral service for their knee brace on Instagram. Never has there been quite such a celebratory funeral.

And now, in these uncertain times, Timm continues to be the voice of all of us. He celebrated being back in training by posting a video of himself performing one of lockdown’s most iconic TikTok videos. One silver lining of this whole sorry matter could be that it has given Timm a chance to play a vital role in fighting for City’s Premier League survival – the ending that was cruelly denied him four years ago.

Norwich City isn’t your average football club – it’s got a long history of doing things differently, of marching to its own tune, of perfectly reflecting its surroundings. Because Norfolk, too, isn’t your average county. And that’s why Timm Klose seems to have found a home there, to have found peace in his surroundings. This eccentric, unique footballer was brought up over 600 miles from Norwich – but for so many reasons, these days he could easily pass as a local.

Comments

  1. Mel says:

    sad to see him go i dont think we saw enough of his potential for long enough cheers Timm a privilege to have seen you play and to give your all for the shirt,good luck for the future and say hi to Ricky

  2. Roger Cole says:

    First time I watched him I saw a real defender. It was in February 2016 my 70th birthday, with my son (a Spurs supporter!) at Carrow Road. The game was over on 30 minutes, they added penalty to an early goal. Deli Alli was a handful. In the second half Timm Klose schooled Harry Cane almost the entire half. Even though Cane got a 3rd for Spurs right at the end I never forgot that display. Go well, big Timm.

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