Highly touted in real life and for those of us old enough to remember, a Championship Manager legend, Mads Timm was expected to become a star but around this time last year at just 24 the striker announced his retirement from the game.
Timm’s story is a familiar one, a young and talented youngster moving to a bigger club in the hope he could fulfil the promise he had shown that initially piqued interest. A fresh faced Timm joined United in 2000 from Danish club Odense for £50k. He would sign a trainee contract in July 2001 and then pro forms months later in December.
In his time in the youth and reserves teams he built quite a buzz about himself and all those who saw him both live and on TV would agree that he was a talented player. In October 2002 against Maccabi Haifa he finally made his first team debut at just 17 appearing as a late substitute but who was to know that it would be his last appearance for the first team?
There were rumors that he had a poor attitude that didn’t match his ability and although he would win the FA Youth Cup in 2003, regarded as clearly the most talented player of the bunch, the major talking point of his United career would come in January 2004.
Leaving training one morning, the young Dane instigated a race with team mate Callum Flanagan. The two raced, doing 65mph in a 40mph zone and eventually Flanagan lost control of his vehicle and hit an on coming car. The passenger in his vehicle, Phil Marsh, was badly injured as was Angela Bourne who was driving the car Flanagan crashed into.
Flanagan admitted his guilty and was sentenced to 8 months but Timm pleaded not guilty and was sentenced to a year. He ended up serving 3 months of his sentence being released early for good behaviour and came home to a United career unlike Flanagan who saw his contract cancelled. It was hoped that he would still come good on the promise he had shown early in his career, that was what saved him, but the incident realistically spelt the end for him.
He was sent on loan to various clubs including Walsall, which must have been quite an eye opener having come from the highs and glamour of United. An FA Reserve League North winner in 2005, that would be Timm’s last hurrah as he was released in June 2006.
Many players talk of regret after leaving United and claim that there really is no place like the club and Timm will probably too as he would rejoin Odense. He was able to showcase the obvious ability he had and earned a call up to the Danish national team despite not actually getting capped. But it was a similar story and he was unable to maintain his position at club level and ended up leaving his boyhood club by mutual consent.
He would move onto Lyngby on a one year deal but after an injury hit season he was released without the offer of a new contract. The star had well and truly burned out.
In August 2009, at just 24, Timm decided to call time on his short yet eventful career. He cited injury but more interestingly a lack of motivation as the primary reason and it just goes to show the dangers of the game for a young player at a club as big as United.
Having talent is not a guarantee of success. I’ve always loved the phrase “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” and that’s the ethos that needs to be drummed into the young players we have coming through as they are a talented bunch.
Luckily from what I have seen neither Kiko Macheda nor Danny Welbeck have exhibited similar traits, but when you are in the position both are in and have been highly touted and praised, it’s easy for such things to creep in. Lets just hope both carry on working and keeping their heads down.