West Ham's fortunes hit rock bottom earlier today as news emerged that Lucas Neill had been swallowed whole by a huge black cat, thought to be a puma. The incident happened at the Chadwell Heath training ground, where the Australian centre back had arrived early to work on his injured ankle. The big cat was believed to have escaped from the nearby Bluewater shopping centre, where a promotional event for the Gourmet Cat Food Company was mysteriously cancelled the previous day.
Manager Alan Curbishley told reporters: "This was the last thing we needed, to be honest. We are having a shocking run of results and are just looking for that little bit of luck to get our season going again. I knew something was up when I saw Lucas's daily pay check hadn't been touched, and then the caretaker told me what had happened. We are all gutted."
The furry creature also made off with striker Marlon Harewood's left leg, although this is not thought likely to impede his career.
Refusing to be disheartened, though, Curbishley quipped "you've got to see the funny side, I suppose. Only at West Ham could a black cat crossing our path cause us more bad luck. We've just got to pick ourselves up and get on with it - well not Lucas, obviously..."
However, more bad news was on its way for the Hammers as the FA announced that it was to dock them 28 points for fielding Argentine star Tevez when he clearly should have been playing for a bigger club.
Ex-player Julian Dicks was, as ever, available for comment.