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By ESPN Staff
Jan 29, 2008

McAllister confirmed as new Leeds boss

Leeds have confirmed the appointment of former skipper Gary McAllister as their new manager. Chairman Ken Bates has wasted little time in naming the 43-year-old as successor to Dennis Wise, who quit Elland Road yesterday to join Newcastle as executive director.

Leeds technical director Gwyn Williams will take charge of the side for tonight's Coca-Cola League One clash at Southend following the departure this afternoon of assistant manager Dave Bassett.

'When I was first approached I couldn't believe it,' McAllister told the club's Web site (www.leedsunited.com).

'It's a great honour to be back at the club and I can't wait to get in and amongst it.'

A club statement read: 'Gary McAllister is the new manager of Leeds United.

'The 43-year-old joins the club initially until the end of the season and will meet the players for the first time on Wednesday.'

Former Leeds midfielder McAllister becomes the club's third manager in 16 months following the sacking of Kevin Blackwell in September 2006.

Since David O'Leary's departure in June 2002, Leeds fans have seen seven different managers, including caretaker-boss Eddie Gray, come and go at Elland Road.

But in contrast to the arrival of predecessor Wise in October 2006, McAllister can count on the red carpet treatment from fans.

The Scot, who also counts Motherwell, Leicester, Coventry and Liverpool among his former clubs, enjoyed hero status among Leeds supporters during his six years at the club.

He helped Leeds win the last Football League Championship in 1992 under Howard Wilkinson before the inception of the Premier League the following season.

Leeds paid £1million to Leicester to bring the Scot to Elland Road in the summer of 1990 and he became part of a revered midfield quartet alongside Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed and David Batty.

McAllister, who famously missed a penalty at Wembley against England while captain of Scotland during Euro 96, moved on to Coventry for £3million in 1996 before enjoying an Indian summer with Liverpool.

Then Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier snapped up McAllister on a free transfer in July 2000 and at the age of 36 the Scot went on to win the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup with the Reds in 2001.

He returned to Coventry for a spell as player/manager in April 2002, but quit in December 2003 to help care for his wife Denise, who died of breast cancer in March 2006.

McAllister, who has since made no secret of his desire to one day return to management, was awarded the MBE in December 2001 for his services to football. He was capped 57 times by his country.

Victory for Leeds at Southend tonight could see the club placed second in the table when McAllister takes charge of his first game against Tranmere at Elland Road on Saturday.