Dennis Wise

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For the fictional character from The Wire, see Dennis "Cutty" Wise.
Dennis Wise
Personal information
Full name Dennis Frank Wise
Date of birth (1966-12-16) 16 December 1966 (age 47)
Place of birth Kensington, London, England
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1983–1985 Southampton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1990 Wimbledon 135 (27)
1985 Grebbestads IF (loan) 10 (5)
1990–2001 Chelsea 332 (53)
2001–2002 Leicester City 17 (1)
2002–2005 Millwall 85 (7)
2005–2006 Southampton 11 (1)
2006 Coventry City 13 (6)
Total 593 (95)
National team
1988 England U21 1 (0)
1989–1990 England B 3 (1)
1991–2000 England 21 (1)
Teams managed
2003–2005 Millwall (player-manager)
2005 Southampton (caretaker manager)
2006 Swindon Town
2006–2008 Leeds United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Dennis Frank Wise (born 16 December 1966) is an English former football player and manager, and former Executive Director (Football) at Newcastle United.

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 two FA Cups, a League Cup and a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, becoming the club's most successful captain, although has since been overtaken by John Terry.[1]

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.[2] He was in the national squad for Euro 2000 and played in group games against Germany (won 1–0) and Romania (lost 2–3).[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, taking them to the F.A. Cup final and European football for the first time ever. 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 traveling around Europe and further afield identifying young players and developing the academy.[4] Wise left Newcastle on 1 April 2009.[5] Following the situation that led to his departure, Wise admitted "It has all had a damaging effect on my career".[6]

Playing career[edit]


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 headed home the winning goal.[7]

During autumn of 1985, Wise was loaned to Swedish non-league club Grebbestads IF, where he scored 5 goals in 10 games.


He signed for Chelsea on 3 July 1990 for a then-club record fee of £1.6 million. His time there would span 11 years, from 1990 to 2001. In his time at Chelsea the combative midfielder became the player with the fourth 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.[8] He was also Chelsea's top scorer in the 1991–92 season with 14 goals from midfield. 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.

Leicester City[edit]

Wise's time at Leicester was less successful and marred by controversy. He made just 17 league appearances, scoring once against Liverpool,[9] 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 in an argument.[10]

Wise was sacked by the club for serious misconduct on 2 August, after which Leicester went into administration.[11] Surprised by the dismissal, he contacted the Professional Footballers' Association and appealed against the decision.[12] The Football League Disciplinary Commission later ruled that Wise had been harshly treated by Leicester and ordered that he be reinstated and given the maximum punishment of two weeks' wages (about £70,000).[13] The tribunal's order led the club to launch an appeal against the decision,[13] which they won on 18 September.[14]


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 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. Wise decided to leave as a new regime entered the club.[15]


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.[16] He scored once in the league for Southampton, in a 2–2 draw with Ipswich Town.[17]

Coventry City[edit]

It was not long before Wise was playing again, as he signed a six month 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, including a spectacular overhead kick from the edge of the penalty area against Hull City. On 9 May, out-of-contract Wise was offered a new one-year contract at the Ricoh Arena but decided it was time to hang up the boots and go back into management.

Managerial career[edit]

Swindon Town[edit]

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.[18] 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.[19]

On 24 October Wise left Swindon to join Leeds United, leaving Swindon Town in 3rd spot with 31 points in 15 games.

Leeds United[edit]

On 20 September 2006, Wise was linked with the vacant Leeds United managerial post, following the sacking of Kevin Blackwell.[20] On 21 October, Swindon gave Wise, and his assistant Poyet, permission to speak to Leeds, following their request.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24][25][26]

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 League Cup against fellow Championship side Southend United.[27] 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. Wise took over with the club 2nd from bottom of the championship and in a difficult financial position.

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 administration.[28] 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 company.[29] Despite 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 September.[30][31] However, on 29 October 2007, Poyet left Leeds to become Juande Ramos's assistant at Tottenham.[32] Three days later, Wise's ex-manager at Wimbledon, Dave Bassett, became his number two.[33] The partnership did not start well and Leeds finally lost their unbeaten record, losing 3–1 to Carlisle United at Brunton Park on 3 November.

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.[34][35]

Executive roles[edit]

Newcastle United[edit]

On 29 January 2008 Newcastle United announced that Wise would be joining the club as Executive Director (Football),[36] 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 development,[37] 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 club.

Wise's role, as stated by Ashley, was to be a '"football-related" executive director'.[38] In a February 2008 interview, Christopher Mort revealed that Newcastle had "heard on the grapevine" that Wise was considering a "move upstairs".[4] 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 afield".[4] Wise, with Vetere, was tasked with helping identify young players for approval by first team manager Kevin Keegan.[4] Wise's role would also entail him helping develop the academy.[4]

The departure of Keegan from the club, on 4 September, saw Wise, Jimenez (who left the club on 9 October) and club owner Ashley come under mounting pressure from the club's supporters to quit.

Managerial statistics[edit]

Team Nat From To
P W D L Success
Rate %
Millwall England 15 October 2003 9 May 2005 89 36 24 29 40.45
Swindon Town England 22 May 2006 24 October 2006 17 9 5 3 52.94
Leeds United England 24 October 2006 28 January 2008 99 47 19 33 47.47

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


As a player[edit]

England national football team

As a player-manager[edit]



  1. ^ "Wise saddened by Bates exit". BBC Sport. 5 March 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Turkey 0 – England 1; 1 May 1991 (Match summary)". Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "England Player Profile: Dennis Wise". Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d e The Mag Fanzine Issue 224 – 23 February 2008, Interview with Newcastle United chairman Chris Mort, p21-22
  5. ^,,10278~1609507,00.html
  6. ^ "Wise defends Toon role". Sky Sports. 5 October 2009. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Vialli's finest hour". BBC. 26 October 1999. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Fowler outwits hapless Foxes". BBC. 20 October 2001. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Wallace, Sam (21 July 2002). "Wise sent home after punch-up". Guardian Unlimited (London). Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  11. ^ "Leicester sack Wise". BBC Sport. 2 August 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "Wise set to appeal". BBC Sport. 3 August 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  13. ^ a b "Foxes contest Wise ruling". BBC Sport. 25 August 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  14. ^ "Foxes win right to sack Wise". BBC Sport. 18 September 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  15. ^ Wallace, Sam (8 May 2005). "Wise steps down as Millwall boss". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  16. ^ "Wise concludes Southampton stint". BBC Sport. 26 December 2005. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  17. ^ "Ipswich 2–2 Southampton". BBC. 13 September 2005. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "Swindon confirm Wise as manager". BBC Sport. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  19. ^ "Wise is handed managerial honour". BBC Sport. 31 August 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  20. ^ "Swindon Town – Wise Linked To Leeds United Job". Vital Football. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  21. ^ "Wise/Poyet in Talks". Swindon Town. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "Club Statement". Swindon Town. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  23. ^ "Agreement Reached". Swindon Town. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  24. ^ "STFC Statement". Swindon Town. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  25. ^ "Wise takes over as Leeds manager". BBC Sports. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  26. ^ "Joint Statement". Swindon Town. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  27. ^ "Leeds 1–3 Southend". BBC Sport. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  28. ^ "Relegated Leeds in administration". BBC Sport. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  29. ^ "Leeds hit with 15-point penalty". BBC Sport. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  30. ^ "Leeds boss wins prize for August". BBC Sport. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  31. ^ "Manager Wise wins monthly prize". BBC Sport. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  32. ^ "Spurs pick Poyet to assist Ramos". BBC Sport. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  33. ^ "Bassett named as Leeds assistant". BBC Sport. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  34. ^ "Wise gets powerful Newcastle role". BBC Sport. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  35. ^ "Luton 1–1 Leeds". BBC Sport. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  36. ^ "Club Confirms Senior Appointments". Newcastle United F.C. 29 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2008. 
  37. ^ "Wise quits Leeds for Magpies role". BBC Sport. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  38. ^ "Keegan resigns as Newcastle boss". BBC Sport. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2008. 

External links[edit]