Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Wise move?

When 'Appy 'Arry Redknapp turned down the manager's job, it seemed as though there wouldn't be aitches being dropped in the corridors of power at St James's Park anytime soon. Not so, with today's news that Dennis Wise has left his job at Leeds to take up a position in our reshaped managerial structure, probably as a director of football or general manager.

It's all a bit bewildering, it has to be said.

On the one hand, the agent behind the appointment seems to have very much been Mike Ashley rather than Kevin Keegan (though Keegan's reported to be happy with it, and satisfied that Wise's role won't encroach on his own), and Ashley has to be commended for taking decisive steps to improve things off the pitch. There's a pleasing suggestion that we might actually be abandoning our chronic short-termism, looking to emulate the likes of Arsenal and Spurs by building up our youth squad - in some ways correcting the mistake Keegan made in his first spell as manager of disbanding the reserves.

But is Wise really the man for the job? At 41, he's very young for a senior position like this, unlikely to have much clout or reputation in the world transfer market (important, given that part of his role is set to involve scouting and identifying targets), and the mind boggles at the sort of bad habits he might teach our prospective youngsters. Do we want a squad of Lee Bowyers? At least he'll be able to look the youth squad in the eyes, quipped the other half of B&W&RAO - but I can't get over the feeling that he's a nasty little man best suited to the nasty club from whence he came. Either Ashley wasn't aware of our antipathy towards him, or felt he could safely make the move having built up a huge fund of goodwill with the appointment of Keegan.

Two things are for certain: given his colourful past, taxi drivers in the city will be treading carefully, and he'll get on like a house on fire with Joey Barton...


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