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 England cricket team lost their status as top-ranked test match team after defeat to South Africa yesterday. But as former Wisden editor Tim de Lisle says in his Thunderer column today:

Since the Aussies said goodbye to Shane Warne and the rest of their golden generation, the top five Test teams have been much of a muchness

Read more

This is not an easy thing for an Australian to write. But it is now clear that the Brits have gone farther than merely thrashing Australia on the medals table. As awful as it is to admit, London has knocked Sydney off its pedestal as the best host of a modern Olympic Games.

The Europe correspondent of The AustralianPeter Wilson, who has covered the Olympics in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, pays homage to London 2012

The last seven days of Olympic action in front covers

Click here for the first set

Tiger Woods’s image was always squeaky-clean, and even his recent troubles haven’t turned him into a character. No amount of silly pants will do it for the others, either. No, the only golfer to register with me since Lee Trevino is John Daly, the man who was once picked off the pavement, the worse for wear, outside a branch of Hooters.

Sid Waddell, the legendary darts commentator who died at the weekend, once wrote in The Times that top sport needs more larger-than-life, off-the-wall characters

Olympians who finished fourth

Keri-Anne Payne (Great Britain), women’s 10km swim, August 9, 2012

More Olympians who finished fourth

Twelve years on from the Sydney Olympics, the Australian effort has been reduced to rubble. In 2000 they won 58 medals, 16 of them gold. By 2004 it was 49 with 17 winners; and in Beijing 46 with 14 golds. In London they will struggle to get more than 35 medals and so far only five are gold. We might enjoy ribbing them, but let’s not avoid the question: how are we going to stop it happening to us?

Team GB know that funds will be cut after the London Games, says four-time gold medal winner Matthew Pinsent, so sport must be given higher priority in schools

Olympians who finished fourth

Matthew Centrowitz (USA), men’s 1,500m, August 7, 2012

More Olympians who finished fourth

Olympians who finished fourth

Teun Mulder (Netherlands), men’s keirin, August 7, 2012

Well, he was fourth for about six minutes

Officials decided later that he had, in fact, tied for bronze. Aww.

More Olympians who finished fourth

Olympians who finished fourth

Alexei Klimov (Russia), men’s 25m rapid fire pistol final, August 3, 2012

More Olympians who finished fourth

GREAT BRITAIN REACH 19 GOLD MEDALS, EQUALLING THEIR TOTAL FROM BEIJING 2008! And that’s with five and a half days to go this time round…

Alistair Brownlee has just won the men’s triathlon, adding  gold to the two won by Team GB yesterday in the team showjumping and men’s cycling sprint.

Follow The Times's Olympics coverage here

Olympians who finished fourth

Dai Greene (Great Britain), men’s 400m final, August 6, 2012

More Olympians who finished fourth

American TV audiences suffer almost seamless ads with only minor interruptions for content. But the Olympics, with its ‘sponsorship partner’ requirements, takes the lunacy to a new level. It’s hard to catch more than a few minutes’ action between the car, finance, flight and food ads. And from the snippets I have seen, I’ve learnt that, in the main, the Olympics are held in the pool and that most competitors are called Phelps.

Times journalist Charlie Cox watches the Olympics in the U S of A - and ends up craving a little (ad-less) BBC

Our London 2012 front covers so far

lebookblog:

THE TIMES : OLYMPIC CORRESPONDENTS

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