As speculation over who will take over as Tesco chairman reaches fever pitch, one unlikely candidate has emerged.

Who is the left-field contender to take over from outgoing chairman Richard Broadbent?

Step forward Gerald Ratner. William Hill is offering odds of 500-1 on Ratner, who caused his company’s near collapse when he joked his jewellery products were so cheap because they were “total crap”.

Ratner’s comments are now on the curriculum in business schools as a salutary lesson.

Perhaps a safer bet for chairman would be outspoken Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who William Hill is offering 100-1 odds on.

If Tesco does plump for Ratner a quick half a million pound bet beforehand would nearly wipe out the company’s £263m profits black hole.