So, he's off. After 15 months as manager of Leeds United, Dennis Wise has become Director of Football at Newcastle United.
It's hard to know how to react to this news. Dennis Wise was never popular with the hardcore of Leeds fans, thanks to his time spent as a player at Chelsea. Chelsea, of course, is one of the thirty-seven (and counting) teams that the hardcore Leeds fan thinks the team has a rivalry with, and as such, they saw Wise's appointment as a slap in the face. This attitude is idiotic, not least because Leeds has so many "rivalries" that any appointment who hadn't spent the previous 20 years playing for Leeds is usually open to criticism and cries of "how could you?"
That said, Wise has done an excellent job this season. Leeds's form at the start of the season was nothing short of spectacular, and despite Wise's inability to keep Leeds in the Championship last season, he deserves a great deal of credit for rebuilding the team and restoring their shattered confidence.
It's possible to criticise him. Leeds's form since Wise lost his trusted assistant manager Gustavo Poyet to Tottenham Hotspur before Christmas has been quite poor, and I do get the feeling that Wise isn't the same man without Poyet at his side. I don't personally rate his new Assistant Manager, Dave Bassett, at all. Still, on balance, Wise has done a good job.
But now, moving on. Who will be replacing him?
According to the BBC this evening, the three bookies' favourites are (in order):
1. Gary McAllister
2. Sam Allardyce
3. Steve McClaren
The first, Gary McAllister, won't be familiar to many readers. He's a legendary former Leeds midfielder, playing alongside Gordon Strachan, David Batty, and Gary Speed in the league title-winning campaign of the 1991/92 season. He managed to extend his career to the age of 35, when he signed for Liverpool and was key to Liverpool's cup campaigns in the 2000/01 season. After his retirement, he worked as a pundit and later as manager of Championship club Coventry City. He resigned after a year to care for his wife, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She died 18 months ago, and McAllister is (reportedly) considering returning to work.
Sam Allardyce is a more familiar figure, and (in my view) unfairly maligned. It's not clear, however, how Leeds would be able to afford to hire him, and I think he's a bit of a long shot.
Steve McClaren ... well, we all know who he is. Hopefully, his name will have vanished by tomorrow.
Gary McAllister would be a popular appointment with the hardcore fanbase. I'd personally prefer someone more experienced, but I do think that McAllister would be a competent and inspirational manager.
Updates as they happen.