With Roberto Di Matteo gone, who should be Chelsea’s next manager?

Joe Joseph

General David Petraeus: If there’s one place outside a battlefield where the skills of a military tactician come in useful, it’s on a football pitch: sneaking down the wing when the opposition’s attention is diverted elsewhere; throwing all your resources into the Big Surge around the 85-minute mark – all to ensure that you leave with a victory under your belt. But best of all, this is a man with a proven talent for playing successfully both at home and away.

Abu Qatada: To be fair, he doesn’t win many matches, but he does have a marvellous track record of getting the authorities to overturn his team’s losing scores. Roman Abramovich may try to shift him after a few poor results, possibly with the lure of a foreign transfer, but Abu Qatada has proved himself a very hard man to shift anywhere.

Sir Mervyn King: Managing Chelsea could be the perfect job for King after he finishes his stint as Governor of the Bank of England, given the club’s history under Abramovich of throwing more and more money at the problem. After all, this is football’s equivalent of quantitative easing (with, so far, similarly inefficacious results).

Mitt Romney: Being possibly richer than Roman Abramovich, he won’t be cowed by the Russian’s cash. He also has “binders” full of players he can hire. And if it turns out that they’re no good, he likes being able to fire them. The size of Stamford Bridge itself won’t faze him, the pitch being slightly smaller than Mitt’s own back garden (one of them). Romney’s trademark match tactic is the flip-flop, in which Chelsea players will suddenly start running in the same direction as the opposing team, towards their own goal. It’s a trick that’s guaranteed to confuse everyone, even the Chelsea squad.

Dr Rowan Williams: Having failed in his bid to allow women to be appointed as bishops, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury could channel his efforts instead into allowing women to play for Chelsea’s first team – a laudable strategy, given the success of England’s women footballers in international competition compared with their male counterparts.

Read more: Gabriele Marcotti, European Football Editor, on why Di Matteo’s departure makes no sense

The Hillsborough disaster was unique in being the only catastrophe in which the victims themselves were attacked; in which the asphyxiated were accused of being somehow responsible for their own deaths and their corpses tested for alcohol — even those of children. Has there been another instance in Britain where the newly bereaved, confronted with the still-warm bodies of their children, have been treated with such brutality and contempt by the State as though, being football fans, they were somehow lesser beings?

The families of the 96 who died in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster have shown incredible dignity despite being kicked in the teeth time and time again, says Carol Midgley

How to ensure football is a hit at the 2016 Summer Olympics

Olympics organisers in London have just pulled half a million football tickets from public sale because they’ve only sold about 1 million of the 2 million that were up for grabs (and cunningly, they will curtain off the empty sections of each stadium).

To help the organisers of Rio 2016 avoid the same fate, here’s a two-point plan to ensure their stadiums are filled with fans:

1. Get rid of the age restriction for over-23s

2. Cancel the World Cup


Read more: The Times campaigns for sunshine at the Games

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