Dennis Wise was approached by Ken Bates to succeed
the sacked Kevin Blackwell in September 2006 following
a successful start to the season by Wise's Swindon
Town charges. He and his assistant, Gus
got the Robins into a promotion spot after just seventeen
games in charge at the club.
Bates is godfather to Wise's child following a close
friendship built-up while the pair were at Chelsea
Most of the Fourth Estate predicted that Bates would install
Wise as Leeds manager within days of taking charge at Elland
Road in Jan 2005. To give Bates credit he forged a close
relationship with Blackwell and gave him 18 months to prove
himself. But the dismal start to the 2006-07 season by
Leeds, following on from the play-off heartache of May
2005, juxtaposed with the successful start by Wise's Swindon
Town seemed to prove too much for Bates and the wildly
predicted reunion of old friends eventually came about.
Following 748 appearances as a professional footballer
and three years in charge at Millwall, Wise came
into the job full of confidence, ideas and withal
plan. He courted controversy at his opening news
conference when he claimed he wanted his Leeds
to be a little bit nasty like the Leeds of old!
Wise immediately replaced Paul
Butler as club captain,
and shipped him, Sean
Gregan and goalkeeper Neil
Sullivan out on loan. He seemed determined to stamp
out any opposition to his authority immediately.
Butler and Gregan left in the Jan 2007 transfer
window but Sullivan eventually returned to the
club and regained his position as number one goalkeeper.
Results under Wise dipped almost immediately and as
crowds slipped to around the 18000 mark the club
slumped to second-bottom in the Championship, the
club's lowest ever official league position. However,
once the Jan 2007 transfer window opened Wise moved
to bring in players that represented his ideas
although a dire shortage of cash limited his opportunities.
He sold Kilgallon to
for £1.75 million which represented good
value as Killa had lost form and had been personally
responsible for giving away four goals already
this season, a trend that couldn't be allowed to
continue. He brought in Robbie Elliot, Alan Thompson
(on loan from Celtic) and his old Chelsea team-mate
Tore Andre Flo (who turned out to be a big Leeds
United fan like all his family in Norway!). Tresor
Kandol came in from Barnet where he had set League
Two alight with his goals.
Despite a fiery reputation as a player Wise proved
a more thoughtful
personality in the technical area but the stress eventually
came through when he pushed WBA's Diomansy Kamara
in the final minute of a 2-3 home defeat as the
player time-wasted during a substitution. Inevitably
levelled a charge of improper conduct against him - its hard to
tell if they are doing it because he's Dennis Wise
or the manager of Leeds - either way its a hanging
--- update ---
Dennis became the first manager to lead Leeds down into the third tier of English football at the end of the 2006-07 season. Wise faced an uncertain summer owing to political machinations between the administrators KPMG, HMRC, interfering politicians, would-be takeover rivals and Ken Bates' new company, all desperately trying to control the future of Leeds United AFC. Eventually with just eight days to go before the start of the season Dennis Wise was told he could start signing players as the transfer embargo had been lifted. But his players faced a fifteen point penalty
and then he lost David Healy, Robbie Blake, Richard Cresswell and Eddie Lewis. Many would have wanted to give up but Dennis Wise is no quitter and he persevered even in the face of anti-Chelsea protests from sections of the Leeds fans during the pre-season games.
Wise answered his critics and the Football League in the best possible manner by winning the first three League One games to reduce the penalty to just minus six points.
By the end of the third Saturday (having beaten former European Champions, Nottingham Forest 2-1 away at the City Ground), Leeds United together with Leyton Orient were the only two teams in ALL the English leagues to have a 100% record.
Page Last Updated: 27 August 2007