If Mike Ashley wants to do the right thing and avoid being run out of Newcastle, he needs to sack Dennis Wise and get on his knees to convince Kevin Keegan to stay at Newcastle United.
King Kev is hardly a master tactician but what he does have is an immense passion for the Tyneside club and a drive to succeed. He has the fan’s best interests at heart, which is more than I can say about Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise.
I had to laugh this morning when I read an article entitled “Dennis Wise Is A Visionary In The Modern Game” penned by Matt Hughes of The Times. As a manager and executive director, what has Wise accomplished? His biggest managerial claim to fame is taking Millwall to the FA Cup Final in 2004, where the London side lost 3-0 to Man United.
In his role as executive director at Newcastle, he’s responsible for transfers, scouting and youth development. What transfers? Six players were transferred out of Newcastle including James Milnar, and five players were brought in. Those five are Jonas Gutierrez, Xisco, Ignacio Gonzalez, Danny Guthrie and Fabricio Coloccini.
These five signings are hardly visionary. Gutierrez dazzled on his first performance for Newcastle but will take time to adapt to the English game. Coloccini seems comfortable in the back, but the jury is still out on him. Xisco and Gonzalez are untested in the Premier League, while Guthrie was a safe bet after playing in the Liverpool reserves.
Does Newcastle really need to pay an executive director such as Dennis Wise a top salary to help make five transfer signings? Couldn’t Keegan have made the same if not better decisions at no additional cost to Newcastle?
Where is the logic in keeping Wise? I don’t see it. Executives at Newcastle would probably say that their continental-style management structure works to support Keegan, but with so few transfers being made and Keegan feeling that he is being undermined by Wise and Ashley, this is a disaster waiting to happen.
Instead, Ashley should sack Wise and give Keegan more power to see if he can turn the ship at St James’ Park. Give Keegan six months to change things around and give the manager more funding in the January transfer window to bring players in who will make a difference. Reports are coming out of England that Keegan has issued an ultimatum to Ashley to get rid of Dennis Wise and vice-president Tony Jimenez and give the control of transfers in and out back to the manager. Let’s hope Ashley agrees with Keegan.
It’s also time for Ashley to face the press and public. He needs to share his vision for Newcastle and put aside his differences with Keegan and give the man a chance. While the team still has a long way to go, Newcastle United this season looks much stronger than they’ve done in many years. Sure, Keegan has got a lot of work to do but let him die trying instead of stabbing him in the back.