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Sack Dennis Wise And Keep Kevin Keegan

dennis-wise-kevin-keegan.jpgIf 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.

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  1. Rob Scott

    September 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    If Mike Ashley wants to chose Dennis Wise over Kevin Keegan that is entirely a matter for his judgement. Wise has a long and illustrious career in football management. Every club where he has held a management position has been supremely successful. It is well known that the most successful teams in the world including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan have been seeking his services. He has refused them all so he help North Eastern teams to deliver the success that they deserve. After outstanding success at Leeds and Newcastle, it is rumoured that he will soon be taking up another important role in the North East. God bless him and so say all of us.

  2. Dave Allison

    September 4, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Lonnie, I’m not sure that his problems with transfers was to do with those players coming into the club. It is believed that the board were attempting to sell Owen and Barton on the closing day of the transfer window, leaving no time to obtain replacements. Whilst I had no problem with Barton leaving the club (find me a Mag who does), this was against Keegan’s wishes.

    Also, I’m under no illusion that Keegan really wanted to sell Milner to Villa – he stated this prior to his departure. The fact that he announced, post-transfer, that it was his decision was surely a board initiative – “put on a brave face Kev and support our decision via a press conference.” At this point, it seems he was willing to, reluctantly, cooperate. Until the Owen / Barton debacle…

  3. Lonnie

    September 4, 2008 at 9:54 am

    The reasoning for having a director of football is so that the manager is not caught up haggling player contracts, etc. The world of football has moved on from the days of a handshake deal and a pint at the local pub.

    That said, the director needs to work with the manager in order to bring in the types of players that he wants. There can be problems though when teams only focus on Plan A (a particular player) and have no Plan B, C or D for filling a role on the team.

    To belittle Wise over transfers is a bit harsh. As you state, six (actually it’s seven) players were transferred out and five players were brought in.

    Four defenders were shipped out along with three midfielders. Two defenders and two midfielders plus a striker were brought in. Doesn’t seem so bad to me.

    How many players do you think Newcastle need? Look at what Manchester United accomplished last season by sticking to a core of players.

    Numbers become an issue as you can’t have 24 first team players and keep everyone happy unless you’re in Europe and having extended cup runs in everything. Even then it’s a stretch. Look what happens at clubs like Chelsea, Man United, etc. The core sticks around and the fringe players that don’t get regular playing time move on. Yes, there will be injuries but that’s what your bench of 7 is for.

    If Keegan is unhappy with the transfer situation then he needs to clearly express to the director which areas of the team he thinks need to be beefed up. The players currently filling those areas then need to be moved out. If the director does not do that to his satisfaction then they need to sort that out with the board in private and not air their laundry in public (i.e. telling the press that without big money he can’t make the team move up the standings).

  4. Dave Allison

    September 4, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Whilst I have had no problems with signings – especially Guthrie, who’s attitude and performances so far have been excellent, particularly in pre-seasaon – I do not like Dennis Wise, and you make a very valid point that Keegan could have picked out these players (and probably more) himself.

    At the same time, however, we have no grounds to show him the door. OK, Derek Llambias allegedly ‘sacked’ Kevin, but there was even less ground for this decision.

    PS. Just discovered this blog today and have been thoroughly enjoying the views on the SJP situation – and have since added the feed to iGoogle! Top work…

  5. Pork Romeo

    September 4, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Could not have said it better myself Gaffer… Wise should go…

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