Dave Bassett

The Managers: Dave Bassett, 2001-2002

Dave Bassett, whose 980-game career in management up until that point had spanned a quarter of a century, arrived at Leicester City as manager in October 2001 with a very successful record of achievement.
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Dave, often known as ‘Harry’, spent 15 years playing as a defensive midfielder for non-league Hayes, Wycombe Wanderers, St Albans City, Walton and Hersham, with whom he won the Amateur Cup at Wembley in 1973, and Wimbledon.

He moved to Southern League side Wimbledon in 1974, winning three successive Southern league titles prior to the club entering the Football League in 1977.

Bassett played in the famous 1975 FA Cup run which saw the Dons defeat top-flight Burnley and draw with Leeds United at Elland Road before his own goal in the replay ended the run.

After playing in Wimbledon’s inaugural season in the Football League, Bassett became the club’s coach as Dario Gradi’s assistant.

Appointed manager in January 1981, he led Wimbledon from the Fourth Division to sixth place in the old First Division in just seven seasons on a shoestring budget.

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Dave Bassett
Dave Bassett

During Bassett's tenure, the King Power Stadium was being built.

His shrewd signings included Lawrie Sanchez, Justin Fashanu, Nigel Winterburn, Dave Beasant, Andy Thorn and Brian Gayle.

Following a difficult seven-month spell as manager in 1987 at Elton John’s Watford, Bassett’s managerial success continued at Sheffield United, when he took them from the Third Division to the top flight in 1990 with back-to-back promotions.

Tony Agana and Brian Deane were inspired signings. Relegated from the Premier League in the last few minutes of the 1993/194 season, Bassett resigned 18 months later in December 1996.

He then led Crystal Place from 16th position, when he was appointed in February, to a Wembley Play-Off Final for a place in the Premier League three months later, only to be defeated by Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City.

Two seasons later, helped by Micky Adams, he led Nottingham Forest to the Premier League and, two years after that, took Barnsley to a Wembley Play-Off Final.

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Dave Bassett
Dave Bassett

Bassett's 1000th game in management was acknowledged by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Bassett’s record of success, combined with his reputation as a motivator led to his appointment in October 2001 as manager of Leicester City, who were bottom of the Premier League.

Micky Adams was appointed as his assistant with a view to becoming the manager in the future. Despite signing Paul Dickov to partner his old Sheffield United striker Deane, Bassett was only able to manage three Premier League wins in six months.

When relegation was confirmed with four games to go, Adams took over as manager with Bassett becoming director of football.

As a postscript, following Adams’ resignation in October 2004, Bassett, helped by Howard Wilkinson, took temporary charge again, until the appointment of Craig Levein four games later.

This was Bassett’s last spell as manager apart from a three-match period as caretaker at Southampton in 2005, although he had spells in assistant or consultant capacities at Watford, Leeds United and Sheffield United.

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