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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Never the wisest move

If ever a player symbolised the failings of a club's former regime, it is Dennis Wise at Leicester City.

A poorly-judged signing by a struggling manager, he was eventually sacked for breaking team-mate Callum Davidson's cheekbone on a pre-season tour.

His reinstatement by a Football League tribunal led Leicester to launch an appeal, which they won on Wednesday.

Peter Taylor spent 1.6m on signing Dennis Wise to a lucrative deal.
Peter Taylor gets to grips with Wise
Player and club now go their separate ways, but it was never a marriage made in heaven.

The former Wimbledon, Chelsea and England midfielder arrived at Filbert Street following Leicester's disastrous end to the 2000/2001 Premiership season.

After seeing his side narrowly avoid relegation, Foxes boss Peter Taylor vowed to think big.

This meant a big salary to lure the former Chelsea and England star Wise to the East Midlands.

True, he only cost 1.6m and added a sheen of metropolitan glamour to City's un-starry ranks.


But most fans thought his reported 30,000-a-week was a little steep for a 34-year-old whose best days were surely behind him.

There was also the matter of little Dennis's reputation for "mixing it" on - and occasionally off - the pitch.

You can take the man out of the Crazy Gang but not, it seemed, vice versa - even after 11 years at sophisticated Stamford Bridge.

Juan Pablo Angel of Aston Villa is grabbed by Dennis Wise.
Dennis was never much of a diplomat
Supporters wondered whether their midfield could accommodate both Wise and the equally "committed" Robbie Savage.

But they were largely prepared to give the new man - and Taylor - the benefit of the doubt ahead of the new campaign.

That faith turned out to be badly misplaced as Leicester carried on where they had left off.

An early 4-0 hammering at Arsenal also saw red cards for Wise and Gunners star Patrick Vieira - same old Dennis?

Taylor was soon being shown the door - decent coach, poor top-flight manager - while Wise never really made the impact expected off him.

He then suffered an thigh injury which put him out of action for several months as the Foxes fell through the Premiership trapdoor.


But Wise was fit again for the 2002/2003 season and, seemingly, very much part of new manager Micky Adams's plans.

I saw him play half of Leicester's first pre-season friendly, a 5-0 win at Sutton, where he looked chirpy and full of running.

Leicester defender Callum Davidson.
Davidson and Wise came to blows in Finland
That was the day before departure on that ill-fated Finnish tour where Wise and Davidson had their contretempts during a card game.

Then came the announcement that City's money worries were far worse than most fans had imagined.

Thus, the timing of Wise's sacking was a little unfortunate, smacking of money-saving expediency.

Would he have been fired if he'd been, say, Neil Lennon at his Filbert Street best? Possibly not.

But most fans - and not just Leicester ones - thought the club were well within their rights to terminate his contract.

The tribunal decision to reinstate Wise led the club to say that doing so would edge it closer to insolvency.

Thus, his fate as a City player was sealed, with fans airing abusive chants about the player they never quite took to in the first place.

Leicester's victory on appeal means Wise never has to face their wrath at the Walkers Stadium... unless he's on an opposing team.

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