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16 Hartlepool 41 -9 46
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Dennis Wise: Leeds United manager 2006 - Jan 2008

      Dennis Wise  

Dennis Wise Leeds United Manager
Real name Dennis Wise
Height 5'6" 
Weight 131lbs  
Date of birth 16 December 1966  
Place of birth Kensington 
Position Midfielder  
Nationality English 
Int. Caps 21 (1 goal)
Signed on Oct 2006  
Fee n/a 
Term n/a 
Squad number n/a

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 Poyet, had 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 together. 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 the FA 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 jury!

--- 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

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All rights reserved © 2001-2013 Chris J Hudson
No reproduction in whole or part without prior written consent
Unauthorised web reproduction will be billed at £75 per article or part thereof.
LeedsUtd365 and "leedsutd365.co.uk" are trademarks of MacGold Direct Ltd
http://www.twitter.com/leedsutd365