Dennis Wise is a person who stirs emotions in lots of football fans - but one thing is also true he breeds success at all levels. Whether it was as captain of Chelsea or leading Millwall into an FA Cup Final at the heart of the man is his appetite for winning.
Wise started his career as an apprentice with Southampton, before moving 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.
Wimbledon (now known as MK Dons) came to re-define the meaning of team sprit and their greatest moment came in 1988 at Wembley with an FA Cup triumph over all-conquering Liverpool when he was named Wimbledon player of the year. The midfielder became a household name with the Dons, making over 150 appearances.
His passion and tenacity then earned him a £1.6million move to Chelsea in 1990 and he went on to become one of the Blues' most celebrated players. In eleven years with Chelsea, he became something of a cup specialist – winning the FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, League and European Cup Winners Cup. He was a natural leader and took on the club captaincy, becoming the most successful Blues skipper ever.
Impressive performances that brought him 13 goals in 44 games in his first season at Stamford Bridge earned him a call-up to the national side.
He made his debut in a friendly against Turkey, in which he scored the only goal of the game. It was his only goal in 21 appearances for England, the last of which came in October 2000 – a World Cup qualifier against Finland. Dennis played in one major final, appearing in all three matches in Belgium in Kevin Keegan's Euro 2000 team - their paths were to cross again 8 years later. It was his uncompromising style of play that earned him a place in the starting line-up against Germany, in a game England won 1-0.
As a player, Wise also played for Leicester, Millwall, Southampton and Coventry.
It was then time to contemplate his future, in management - it didn't take long as he was confirmed as Millwall's player-manager on Tuesday November 11th 2003, having been in charge of the first team in a caretaker capacity for the previous month (from October 15th). Wise had taken temporary charge of the Lions when Mark McGhee left the club.
It began well as Millwall became only the second team from outside the top flight to reach the FA Cup final since 1982 when Wise led them to the their first ever FA Cup Final in 2004, where the then-First Division side lost to reigning Premier League champions Manchester United.
After Millwall, Wise was briefly joint-caretaker manager of Southampton with Dave Bassett. However, he left St Mary's on December 26, when George Burley was appointed as the new manager. Reluctant to give up playing, he then moved to Coventry City signing a short-term "pay-as-you-play" deal teaming up with Micky Adams (his manager whilst he was at Leicester). He began well scoring a goal in each of his first three games - but with the end of the 2006 season came then end of his playing career.
On 22 May 2006, Wise was appointed Swindon Town manager on a three-year contract, bringing in ex-Chelsea team mate Gustavo Poyet as his assistant. They began well 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 his first Manager of the Month award. Two weeks later he was linked with the vacant Leeds United managerial post, following the departure of Kevin Blackwell. It took over a month's negotiation before it was announced on 24 October, that 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.
He had joined the Leeds revolution with former Chairman Ken Bates. Leeds made an excellent start to the 2007/08 season winning their first 7 league games and Wise was named as manager of the month for both August and September.
Wise left Leeds in January 2008, joining Newcastle United as Director of Football where he would remain in the role until April 2009.