Chris Goreham: How Timm Klose has become a leader in the Norwich City dressing room
PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 October 2018
It was cruelly appropriate that Timm Klose should accidentally score Stoke City’s match winner at Carrow Road.
The recently relegated Potters would do well to let him point the way more often.
Klose has been one of Norwich City’s most reliable performers in recent times and not just during the eight game unbeaten run that he inadvertently ended on Saturday with that telescopic leg of his.
The big Swiss defender was rarely heralded last season with the notable exception of that barnstorming late equaliser against Ipswich in front of The Barclay.
Moments of magic from James Maddison, Josh Murphy or, in the early part of the campaign at least, Nelson Oliveria meant that others usually grabbed the yellow and green spotlight.
Yet Klose quietly found his way in The Championship last season and was an important part of Daniel Farke’s steep learning curve.
After missing the first five games of the campaign thanks to an injury suffered during the bruising pre-season friendly at Cambridge United that also put paid to Alex Pritchard’s chances of playing until November, Klose would go on to start 36 of the remaining 41 league games.
His turnaround in form is worth noting. Klose was signed in the ill-fated transfer window of January 2016 by Alex Neil in a bid to guarantee the Canaries’ Premier League survival.
There is an argument to say that they may have had a better chance of avoiding relegation if he hadn’t suffered an injury during the run-in but the fact is that within just a few months of arriving in England to play Premier League football Klose became a Championship defender.
He has since admitted that he found the adjustment to the hustle and bustle of second-flight football as a culture shock.
Culpable in the dismal 5-0 defeat at Brighton that was probably the beginning of the end for Neil as City boss, Klose found himself playing in the Checkatrade Trophy for Norwich’s Under 23s in a 1-0 defeat by Swansea at Carrow Road and seemed destined for a January departure.
In all of the five transfer windows since Klose joined the Canaries he has been linked with at least one move away, often a return to German football has seemed imminent but the man himself has never expressed a desire to leave, quite the opposite in fact.
The way he has knuckled down, committed to the Canary cause and built a relationship with supporters says an awful lot for him.
Klose was handed the captain’s armband when Alex Tettey was taken off in a late bid to throw the kitchen sink at Stoke on Saturday and that underlines that he has become one of the leaders in that dressing room.
The way Stoke saw out that game suggested that Klose’s penny has now dropped in the Potteries.
Gary Rowett has, in Championship terms, a vast array of expensively assembled talent at his disposal but they were 16th before kick-off at Carrow Road.
The Championship doesn’t respect reputations as one of the most seasoned managers in the English game, Steve Bruce, found out last week when he was sacked by Aston Villa. So many players and managers have been chewed up and spat out by its relentlessness over the years.
“It seems some players’ heads are still in the Premiership when they should be rolling their sleeves up and working hard.”
That’s a quote from Nigel Worthington after his Norwich City side lost 2-0 at Derby in December 2005 as they laboured following their own relegation despite the presence of players like Robert Green, Dean Ashton and Darren Huckerby.
Almost a decade and a half on it seems acclimatising to the Championship remains one of football’s biggest challenges.
While covering Norwich City’s every move accounts for most of my working life it’s always good to share in some Norfolk sporting success away from Carrow Road.
The clash with Stoke marked the end of a busy run of seven football commentaries in 21 days.
Given that I interviewed Daniel Farke before and after each one it meant that I had spoken to the City head coach 14 times in three weeks.
A trip to King’s Lynn Stars speedway last week gave me something else to focus on but it wasn’t nearly as refreshing as the journey back to Norwich afterwards.
The Stars have been in brilliant form this season, reaching the Premiership Grand Final for the first time ever.
I had the assignment of making sure BBC Radio Norfolk could cover the second leg of their semi-final against Belle Vue last Monday night.
It was going really well. I’d found the perfect space to park our radio car for the broadcast, the signal was strong enough for me to allow the peerless Edwin Overland to get on with commentating while I went off in search of some interviews to add a bit of colour to our coverage.
When I returned after a couple of races I found the front window of the car on the driver’s side smashed. This speedway novice had failed to take into account that shale can travel further from the track than you would think when four speedway bikes go over the top of it at 70mph.
It didn’t take us off air but I was hugely thankful for some help from a steward called Jim and an official at The Stars track called Travis after the meeting to sweep away the glass from the ground as well as the driver’s seat and make a return journey to Norwich possible.
Speedway is a thrilling sport but you haven’t lived until you’ve driven from King’s Lynn to Norwich on a chilly October night at around 11pm without a window. It’s the closest I will ever get to driving a convertible but my cold right ear soon warmed up when I had to phone up the BBC Radio Norfolk bosses and tell them that I had broken the radio car. It’s probably best that I stick to football from now on.