Leeds manager Dennis Wise has been offered the position of Director of Football at Premier-league outfit Newcastle United by Kevin Keegan, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post. Wise will definitely be in charge of Leeds for tomorrow's match against Southend United, but there's no guarantee that he'll be there any longer than that.
It speaks volumes of the talent in Leeds's backroom staff that both Dennis Wise and former Assistant Gus Poyet (who became Juande Ramos's assistant manager at Tottenham earlier this season) are being headhunted by top Premier League clubs, but where does that leave Leeds? The team is just a few points away from an automatic promotion slot with eighteen games to go in the current season, and considering the 15 point penalty the team began the season with, every game is crucial to Leeds's push to the Championship. Losing Wise now could destroy a talented and successful team and leave Leeds in a similar position to Nottingham Forest - strong, overachieving, but stuck in a division far lower than the team's reputation and history deserve.
Dennis obviously has to make a decision in his own best interests (although, personally, I wouldn't go within seventy miles of the pending-death-sentence that is a job at Newcastle, where fans consider anything less than a 5-4 Champions League final win - every season - an abject failure. Unless you're Kevin Keegan.) and I can't begrudge his taking the opportunity to work in the Premier League. Still, it'd be a shame for Wise to exchange an opportunity to make history as a Leeds manager by overcoming a 15 point deficit to win automatic promotion, for a forgettable job as Director of Football at a mediocre Premier League club with about as much chance of breaking into the Big Four as I do of growing wings.
Go to Newcastle and be derided by a needy and petulant fan base, or stay at Leeds and be a hero at a team commanding the thirteenth largest average attendance in England despite being in the third-tier of English football? I know which I'd choose. Let's see what Wise does.
Updates as the happen.