If you’re amongst those wondering just what possessed Newcastle United to poach Leeds manager Dennis Wise (above, left) and install him as the Magpies’ new director-of-something-or-other — and Kevin Keegan might be as curious, too — the Guardian’s Scott Murray and Sean Ingle have the inside knowledge.
DENNIS WISE: A TIMELINE[Ambient note – the following story should only be read while listening to this piece of music]
Monday January 28, 2008: 11.59am
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley goes to lunch.
Mike Ashley finishes lunch.
Mike Ashley decides to put on his replica shirt.
Mike Ashley squeezes into his replica shirt.
The replica shirt restricts Ashley’s lungs to such an extent that the blood supply to his brain is cut off.
Tragedy is thankfully averted as Mrs Ellen Shearer, the suspicious-looking Newcastle tea lady, pops round with Ashley’s mid-afternoon buns, finds a distressed Ashley thrashing about, and cuts him out of the replica shirt (using the sword of Damocles she was on her way to hang in the manager’s office).
It transpires Mrs Shearer did not in fact arrive in time to avert tragedy totally, as while the blood supply to Ashley’s brain was cut off, he phoned Leeds manager Dennis Wise, giving him a £1.5m-per-year rolling contract and a seat on the board as an “executive director on football-related matters”.
Tuesday January 29, 2008: 9am
A new morning. Kevin Keegan insists he is “very happy” about the Wise affair, despite having said, upon being asked three months ago if he would assist then-manager Sam Allardyce as director of football, that Allardyce “would be a fool to let it happen and the guy who goes in would be a fool to accept it. The chairman, who is not a fool, would be a fool to go and do it, too. It doesn’t work.”
Keegan disappears from view for the entire day – absolutely not, y’know, to draft, y’know, a resignation letter, y’know, just in case – in a large puff of smoke which blasts from his lugs.
Continuous belly laughing can be heard from the south, approximately 100 miles away, where not only has never-popular ex-Chelsea legend Wise left Elland Road for good, Dave Bassett – blamed by many Leeds fans for a dreadful run of form which is jiggering their automatic promotion push – ends his stint in charge as caretaker boss after 36.73 seconds.
Surround-sound laughter suddenly moves up an entire octave in pitch thanks to increased wave oscillations in the Leeds area, where guffawing becomes increasingly manic due to managerial appointment of Gary McAllister, a former fans’ favourite and more importantly Not Dennis Wise.