Dennis Wise is a former English midfielder who was born in Kensington, London on 16th December 1966. Wise grew up in a Shepherd's Bush housing estate, and was often seen playing football with his father's friend Stan Bowles. Wise was caught up in trouble throughout in his younger years. His dad once hit him when he refused to shake a team mates hand in a youth match. Wise also missed out on the chance to play for England school boys after getting into a fight on a train. The future England captain began his career at Southampton but fell out with Saints manager Lawrie McMenemy after he turned down an offer of £100 per week apprenticeship. It wasn't the first time the pair had clashed. McMenemy once pinned Wise to his office wall after he roughed up a team mate in training. He was also involved in a nightclub scrap with Reuben Agboola.
Wise joined Wimbledon on 28th March 1985. By the time he became a regular for the club in 1986/87 The Dons were a top flight side. Back in the autumn of 1985 Wise had a short spell on loan at Swedish non-league outfit Grebbestads. The former Saints trainee played in a key role in the Dons 1988 FA Cup triumph. He scored in a thumping 4-1 win over West Brom on January 9th in the third round of the competition, just minutes after limping off to receive treatment for an injury. Wise also got Wimbledon's equaliser from a free kick in the quarter final tie with Watford. In the final itself, Wise provided the cross for Lawrie Sanchez to net the only goal of the game. He continued to perform well at Plough Lane for two years after the Cup final, and was an asset both defensively and going forward. Wise was a strong character who fitted in well with Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang' image alongside the likes of John Fashanu and Vinny Jones.
On July 3rd 1990 Chelsea paid £1,600,000 to bring Wise to Stamford Bridge, which was a club record fee at the time. He settled in brilliantly at the West London club, scoring 10 goals in both of his opening two seasons, earning him a debut England cap in 1991. Wise was part of the Glenn Hoddle led side that reached the 1994 FA Cup final, losing out to Manchester United 4-0. In 1995 Wise was convicted of assaulting a London taxi driver. He bounced back in 1997 when he captained a Chelsea side managed by Ruud Gullit to an FA Cup final win. In 1998 Wise was crowned Chelsea player of the season, helping the club win the Coca Cola Cup and European Cup Winners Cup. The former Wimbledon man was never far away from trouble on the pitch, and missed 15 games through suspension in 1998/99. In April 1999 he was accused of biting Mallorca's Marcelino Elena in a European Cup Winners Cup tie. On October 26th 1999 Wise scored a famous equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Milan in the Champions League. He was crowned Chelsea player of the season for a second time in 2000, and captained Gianluca Vialli's side to FA Cup glory the same year. Wise represented England during Euro 2000, and played in all three matches of a disastrous tournament that saw Kevin Keegan's men knocked out at the group stages. Wise made his final appearance for Chelsea on 19th May 2001 in a 2-1 win at Manchester City. He featured 445 times for the club in an eleven year spell, making him the 4th most capped player at Stamford Bridge. Wise's career at Stamford Bridge effectively came to an end after a fall-out with boss Claudio Ranieri.
On 25th June 2001 Wise signed for Peter Taylor's Leicester for a fee of £1,600,000. The midfielder was a major disappointment for the Filbert Street outfit, missing over half the season through injury. Wise failed to justify his rather large salary, despite scoring in a 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool on 20th October 2001. Leicester were relegated at the end of the campaign, and in desperate need to offload the high earning former Chelsea man. On 2nd August 2002 Wise was sacked from the club after breaking teammate Callum Davidson's jaw after a scuffle on a pre-season tour of Finland in July 2002. He later sued the club for wrongful dismissal and more than £2,600,000 in loss earnings, despite the fact The Foxes were in administration at the time.
On 24th September 2002 Wise signed for Millwall on a free transfer. He made his debut for The Lions four days later in a 3-2 victory at Coventry. It wasn't long before Wise came up against his former side Leicester. On 16th November the Foxes took an early 2-0 lead in a bad tempered game, which saw Leicester players deliberately target Wise, who they still despised after what he had done to Callum Davidson. Brian Deane was sent off after just 13 minutes following a nasty lunge on his former teammate. Davidson also had to be subbed in the first half so City didn't go down to 9. Millwall fought back, and somewhat inevitably Wise netted the equalising goal that levelled the score at 2-2. After scoring the former Chelsea man blew a kiss to the Leicester dugout, and sarcastically praised Brian Deane in his post match interview.
In 2003 Wise became player-manager at The Den. He led the Lions to a 10th place finish in 2003/04, and also guided the side to the FA Cup final. Millwall's 3-0 loss to Manchester United on 22nd May 2004 marked the 5th time Wise had featured in an FA Cup final. He helped Millwall to another 10th place finish in 2004/05, but left the club at the end of the campaign following a disagreement with new chairman Peter da Savary.
In July 2005 Wise signed for freshly relegated Championship outfit Southampton on a playing contract. Wise made his Saints debut on 6th August 2005 in a 0-0 draw with Wolves, 22 years after first signing with the club as a trainee. The former Millwall man put in some solid displays for Harry Redknapp's side, and scored his first and only goal for the club on 13th September 2005. When Redknapp resigned in December to rejoin Portsmouth, Wise took over as joint caretaker manager alongside Dave Bassett. Wise and Bassett led Saints to a 1-0 victory over Luton on December 11th, and were also in charge a week later when Saints lost 3-1 at Norwich in a dire display. Both men left the club just before Christmas when Chairman Rupert Lowe appointed George Burley as new first team manager. Wise was keen on the job himself, and spoke out publicly against the club for not giving him a chance.
On 19th January 2006 Wise joined Coventry City on a short term deal. City were managed by Mickey Adams, who was in charge of Wise at Leicester. The midfielder enjoyed an Indian summer at Ricoh Arena, netting 6 goals in 13 matches. Wise scored an incredible free kick in a 2-1 win at Hull on January 31st. On May 9th 2006 Wise was released from the club and subsequently hung up his boots.
On May 22nd 2006 Wise returned to management when he was appointed at League 2 outfit Swindon, alongside assistant and former Chelsea teammate Gus Poyet. Wise won his first six matches in charge at The County Ground, earning him the manager of the month award for August.
On 24th October 2006 Wise and Poyet joined Leeds United. Leeds chairman Ken Bates was extremely familiar with the pair, having worked with them for many years during his time in charge at Chelsea. Wise took charge with Leeds struggling at the wrong end of the Championship table. He was unable to turn around the slide, and Leeds were relegated to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history in 2007. Despite suffering a 15 point penalty at the start of 2007/08, Wise's Leeds started the League 1 season on fire, winning their first 7 matches. The Elland Road club also went 13 matches unbeaten, as Wise picked up manager of the month awards for August and September. The wheels started to come off slightly however when assistant boss Poyet left the club to join Tottenham on 29th October. Wise left the club after a slightly disappointing run in January, which saw the club just outside the play-off places.
On 29th January 2008 Wise quit Leeds to take up the role of Executive Director at Newcastle, along with Tony Jimenez. Wise was an extremely unpopular figure during his time at St James Park, especially after fans favourite Kevin Keegan had resigned following what he saw as interference in the transfer market. It was believed that Newcastle sold James Milner to Aston Villa without Keegan's permission. The North East club also signed Xisco and Ignacio Gonzalez, who Keegan didn't want. The Toon Army blamed these decisions on Wise and Jimenez, who they dubbed 'The cockney mafia'. On 1st April 2009 Wise left Newcastle, shortly before their relegation to the Championship. Club legend Sir Bobby Robson said of the former Chelsea captain "I am not sure I can forgive Wise for what he did to my club".