Dennis Frank Wise (born 16 December
1966 in Kensington, West London) is an English former football
manager and player, and former Executive Director (Football) at
Newcastle United F.C..
Wise played as a central midfielder and was noted for his
aggressive and highly-competitive style of play. In a career
spanning over 20 years, he played for Wimbledon, Leicester City,
Millwall, Southampton, Coventry City and, most notably, Chelsea.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Wise won many trophies and he
was the club's most successful captain until the 2009 FA Cup Final
when John Terry lifted the cup (He has won 7 trophies)
He also played at international level for much of his career,
representing England over a period of ten years. Wise won 21 caps
and scored once, on his debut against Turkey on 1 May 1991.
He was in the national squad for Euro 2000 and played in all three
group games, against Portugal (lost 2–3), Germany (won 1–0) and
Romania (lost 2–3).
In the latter years of his playing career, Wise gradually became
involved in the managerial aspects of the game, starting at Millwall,
where he took on the role of player-manager. He was briefly
caretaker manager at Southampton, following the departure of Harry
Redknapp, before he took over the reins at Swindon Town on a
permanent basis. In October 2006, he was appointed manager of the
then-Championship side Leeds United, who found themselves in the
relegation zone. Although they were ultimately relegated, Wise
reshaped his side in the close season and Leeds made an excellent
start to their first season in the third tier of English football.
In a surprise career move, despite their strong position and
likelihood of promotion, Wise left Leeds in January 2008 to join the
newly reshaped management team at Newcastle United in an executive
role, tasked with travelling around Europe and further afield
identifying young players and developing the academy.
Wise left Newcastle on 1 April 2009.
Dennis Wise <<Video
Click on pics to see more
Wise started his career as an apprentice with Southampton, but
was left without a club after he fell out with manager Lawrie
McMenemy. He moved to Wimbledon on 28 March 1985, at the age of 18
and remained at Plough Lane for over 5 years as Wimbledon
consolidated their position in Division One, having risen from
Division Four in only four years. He was a member of the Wimbledon
"Crazy Gang" that defeated hot favourites Liverpool 1-0 at Wembley
in the 1988 FA Cup Final and supplied the cross from a free kick
from which Lawrie Sanchez scored the winning goal.
He signed for Chelsea on 3 July 1990 for a then-club record fee
of £1.6 million and his time there would span 11 years, from
1990–2001. In his time at Chelsea the combative midfielder became
the player with the 4th most appearances in the club's history,
featuring 445 times and scoring 76 goals, including a memorable
Champions League equaliser in the San Siro against A.C. Milan in
1999. He was also Chelsea's top scorer in the 1991–92 season with 14
goals from his midfield role. Wise captained the Chelsea teams that
won the FA Cup in 1997 and 2000, the League Cup in 1998 and the UEFA
Cup Winners' Cup in 1998. He was also twice voted club player of the
year, in 1998 and 2000. With new manager Claudio Ranieri seeking to
lower the average age of the Chelsea squad, he was sold to Leicester
City on 25 June 2001 for £1.6 million.
Wise always remained a controversial figure, leading Sir Alex
Ferguson to say that he could "start a fight in an empty house".
His time at Chelsea was tarnished by disciplinary problems and
unsavoury off-the-field incidents. In 1995 he was convicted of
assaulting a London taxi-driver,
and given a three-month prison sentence, which was later overturned
on appeal. Nonetheless, the incident still saw him stripped of the
Chelsea captaincy by manager Glenn Hoddle. In April 1999, he was
accused of "biting" Marcelino Elena of RCD Mallorca in a Cup
Winners' Cup tie,
and in the 1998–99 season he missed a total of 15 games through
Wise's time at Leicester was less successful and equally marred
by controversy. He made just 17 league appearances and was sent home
from a pre-season tour of Finland and suspended by the club on 20
July 2002, after breaking the nose and jaw of team-mate Callum
Davidson, who was trying to act as a peacemaker in a dispute between
Wise and another player.
Wise then signed for Millwall on 24 September 2002 and became
player-manager in 2003. Millwall were the first team from outside
the top flight to reach the FA Cup final since 1992 when Wise led
them to the their first ever FA Cup Final in 2004. The First
Division side lost to reigning Premiership champions Manchester
United by 3-0. Despite losing, Millwall qualified for a place in the
UEFA Cup for the first time in their history, as United had already
qualified for the Champions League. They were knocked out in the
first round by Hungarian champions Ferencvaros. He resigned at the
end of the 2004–05 season, citing a disagreement with the new
chairman as his motive.
Wise returned to Southampton on a free transfer on 27 June 2005
and made 12 appearances for the club. With the resignation of Harry
Redknapp, he was briefly joint-caretaker manager of the club with
Dave Bassett. However, he left St Mary's on 26 December, when George
Burley was appointed as the new manager.
It was not long before Wise was playing again, as he signed a
short-term "pay-as-you-play" deal with Coventry City on 19 January
2006. He joined up once again with Micky Adams, who had been his
manager whilst he was at Leicester. He made an emphatic start,
beginning his spell with Coventry by scoring a goal in each of his
first three games with the club. On 9 May, out-of-contract Wise was
released from the Ricoh Arena, along with fellow veteran Richard
On 22 May 2006, Wise was appointed Swindon Town manager on a
three-year contract, with ex-Chelsea team mate Gustavo Poyet as his
assistant. He made
an excellent start to the season by winning 6 out of 7 games and
topping the League Two table with 18 points after a 2-0 away win
against Chester City on 1 September. As a result of this tremendous
start, Wise was awarded the Manager of the Month award.
Wise's first defeat as Swindon boss came against Wrexham in their
league clash at the Racecourse Ground. His second defeat and first
home defeat in charge of the Robins came against Peterborough United
on 16 September 2006. This loss left Swindon second in the table
behind Wycombe Wanderers.
On 20 September 2006, Wise was linked with the vacant Leeds
United managerial post, following the sacking of Kevin Blackwell.
On 21 October, Swindon gave Wise, and his assistant Poyet,
permission to speak to Leeds, following their request.
However, talks broke down between the clubs when they were unable to
agree a suitable financial package and on 23 October, Swindon
withdrew permission for Leeds to talk with, or seek to appoint, Wise
and Poyet, stating that "Dennis and Gus remain valued members of
Swindon Town FC as both players and part of the management team".
In a bid to keep hold of the pair, the club offered them both
significantly improved terms.
Later that day, Swindon confirmed that they had reached a suitable
financial settlement package with Leeds for the services of Dennis
Wise and Gus Poyet and that they looked set to join.
Following the successful negotiation of acceptable compensation in
line with the expectations of Swindon Town, on 24 October, the
boards of both clubs officially confirmed that Dennis Wise, Gus
Poyet and Andrew Beasley had joined Leeds United as manager,
assistant manager and goalkeeping coach respectively.
On the evening of his arrival, Wise watched from the stands at
Elland Road as he saw his new side crash to a 3-1 defeat in the
Carling Cup against fellow Championship side Southend United.
He received a standing ovation from fans and in a press conference
unveiling him to the media, he said that he believed that it did not
matter that he formerly played for Chelsea. In the interview he
stated that his aim was to bring Leeds back into the Premiership.
His first action as manager was to replace captain Paul Butler and
his vice-captain Gary Kelly with the feisty, hard-tackling
midfielder Kevin Nicholls, along with Shaun Derry as his deputy.
Wise's first game in charge came 4 days later, ironically against
Southend at Elland Road again, though this time it was a league
fixture and Leeds won the game 2-0. However, they continued to
struggle for the remainder of the season under Wise and relegation
was confirmed on 4 May 2007 with only one game remaining, when the
Football League gave the club a 10-point penalty for going into
Leeds finished bottom of the league and they were relegated into
League One for the first time in their history. Nonetheless,
chairman Ken Bates retained Wise for the 2007–08 season.
On 4 August, Leeds were granted their golden share, but they were
given another penalty, this time 15 points, after administrators
KPMG refused to resurrect the CVA for the 'old' Leeds United
this, they made an excellent start, winning their first 7 league
games and Wise was named as manager of the month for both August and
However, on 29 October 2007, Poyet left Leeds to become Juande
Ramos's assistant at Tottenham.
Three days later, Wise's ex-manager at Wimbledon, Dave Bassett,
became his number two.
The partnership did not start well and Leeds finally lost their
unbeaten record, losing 3-1 to Carlisle United at Brunton Park on 3
Leeds briefly topped the table on Boxing Day, after drawing 1-1
in an early kick-off against Hartlepool United at the Victoria
Ground and they went into 2008 3rd in the league. Wise left the club
on 28 January 2008 in a surprise move to take up a role at Newcastle
United, his last game in charge being a 1–1 draw against Luton Town
at Kenilworth Road on 26 January.
On 29 January 2008 Newcastle United announced that Wise would be
joining the club as Executive Director (Football),
an advisor to the board on footballing matters, reporting directly
to the club chairman Chris Mort. Although speculated to be in the
role of Director of Football or General Manager, the job is thought
to be more restricted, involving transfers, scouting and youth
alongside simultaneous appointment of Tony Jimenez as Vice President
(Player Recruitment) and Jeff Vetere as Technical Co-ordinator,
following the earlier shock return of first team manager Kevin
Keegan. Keegan had previously expressed disquiet with the concept of
a Director of Football, both in commenting about the previous
Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce, and latterly the proposition of
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley appointing one during his tenure at the
In the surprise career move, Wise had been attributed as having
lost interest in direct football management since the loss of his
assistant Gustavo Poyet to Tottenham Hotspur, and considered the
executive position at Newcastle an opportunity "he had to take".
Wise's role, as stated by Ashley, was to be a '"football-related"
In a February 2008 interview, Christopher Mort revealed that
Newcastle had "heard on the grapevine" that Wise was considering a
Wise was selected as his relative youth and being a "bundle of
energy" suited the new role that would involve "travelling around
Europe and further a field".
Wise, with Vetere, was tasked with helping identify young players
for approval by first team manager Kevin Keegan.
Wise's role would also entail him helping develop the academy.
The departure of Keegan from the club, on 4 September, saw Wise
and club owner Ashley come under mounting pressure from the club's
supporters to quit. Keegan, a manager with an exalted status among
supporters of the club, stated that, "It's my opinion that a manager
must have the right to manage and that clubs should not impose upon
any manager any player that he does not want," adding that he had
"no choice other than to leave".
Keegan was furious to discover that James Milner, a player he had
previously stated was not for sale, had been allowed to sign a
contract with Aston Villa, and he was not given adequate time or
funds to bring in new players; Keegan had let his dislike of the
management structure be known in the months leading up to his
Speculation of Keegan's resignation built in the days leading up,
and a large number of fans began protesting at Ashley's employment
of Wise, and his alleged interference.
The club issued a statement in response to Keegan's claim, and the
widespread belief that Wise was responsible for transfer activity,
by saying that Keegan was aware of the structure when he re-joined
Thousands of fans protested against Ashley and Wise, dubbed the
"cockney mafia", in the 2–1 home defeat to Hull City on 13
September, although neither Ashley nor Wise attended the match.
Days later Ashley released an emotional statement in which he
announced that he was putting the club up for sale; Wise came in for
praise from Ashley, who said that he had successfully scouted and
closed out deals for a number of recent signings.
Wise further angered Newcastle United fans when he was shown
often attending Chelsea home games (and the FA Cup Final). Later, it
was revealed he spent the vital last day of the 2009 season in Dubai
celebrating his wife's birthday, showing a surprising disinterest in
the outcome of a club in which he had very recently been involved.
In fact all of Wise's signings (Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez,
Xisco, Ignacio Gonzalez and Sebastien Bassong) failed to feature in
the clubs final game. While Wise's signings have received mixed
views from Newcastle fans, television, radio and newspaper pundits
have universally slated them as second rate signings.
On 1 April 2009, following the appointment of Alan Shearer as
manager on an interim basis, Newcastle released a statement that
Wise had left his role as Executive Director of Football with
immediate effect. The club also confirmed that there were no plans
to replace Wise.
As a player
- Wimbledon F.C.
- Chelsea F.C.
- FA Cup: 1997, 2000, runner-up: 1994
- FA Charity Shield: 2000, runner-up: 1997
- League Cup: 1998
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1998
- UEFA Super Cup: 1998
- England national football team
- 1991 England Challenge Cup
As a player-manager
- Millwall F.C.
||15 October 2003
||9 May 2005
||22 May 2006
||24 October 2006
||24 October 2006
||28 January 2008
Managers' Success Rate is based on wins per 100
games. The statistics include all League, Cup & European first team
fixtures. Correct as of 20 September 2008
Hugely talented and
underrated. Great crosser and passer and
tenacious to the end. His natural aggression
ensured we always took the fight to the