In a shock twist to the dark comedy surrounding Portsmouth football club, the government has announced that it is stepping in to bail out the ailing Premier League club.
"We believe that allowing the club to collapse would do lasting damage to the economy around this part of Hampshire," claimed Lord Mandelson, "Without the club, there was be a sudden loss of demand for beer, blue coloured clothes, tattoo parlours and bells. And where would all those sailors on shore leave go?"
An RBS chief executive will take over the club, charmingly known as "Pompey", with immediate effect, who announced: "I am delighted for this opportunity. My first priority will be to re-establish the brand, something that can't be done without first paying me a hefty bonus in line with the market expectations".
Pompey manager, Israeli miserablist Avram Grant, said "This is great news for me, with government backing we can nationalise Wayne Rooney and force him to help us stave off relegation to the league that shall not be named"
The Premier League hierarchy have yet to comment. Many inside sources expected the club to be docked points for failing to be "sexy" enough for the competition. "We can't have these clubs full of fans who think every season in the top flight is a 'laugh' - we only want clubs who are 'big' enough for the Premier League. Better class clubs, like Newcastle, even Leeds - not these Portsmouths, Stokes and Burnleys,", spat one source, "and don't even get me started on Hull City"
Former Pompey manager, Harry Redknapp, said "Cor blimey, guv, I had that club in the back of me cab once. Salt of the earth. Nice to know my taxes are being spent on something important"
Portsmouth currently lie bottom of the Premier League and are, effectively, screwed.