In an astonishing turn of events West Ham United have employed their recently-sacked manager Avram Grant – in his alternative role as an undertaker – to bury the club next week.

It was Grant who oversaw the Hammer’s sad demise, mumbling his apologies after every defeat like a Russian hit-man suffering a crisis of faith. What has only now come to light however is that throughout his under-whelming spell in the managerial hotseat Grant regularly moonlighted as a funeral director, after helping set up a successful business named Mourning Glory.

'I'm sorry for your eighteen losses. And twelve draws.'

A senior member of the West Ham board has defended their decision to enlist a man who they only fired two days ago. ‘Avram may be an inept, uninspiring figure in the dug-out with the personality of soggy toast but his suicidal Bagpuss demeanour makes him the best undertaker around. Who better to greet you at the church than someone who looks far more depressed than you do? The guy is wasted in football and he’s already come up with some lovely touches for the send-off. A sea of bubbles will be blown across the cemetery whilst a huge mosaic of the Queen Mum will be erected made entirely from smelted knuckle-dusters’.

In a twist on tradition the club are hosting a wake before the burial takes place – against Sunderland on Saturday. After that they will sell their heartbeat Scottie Parker, be given the last rites, and be left to rest in peace as they languish in the Championship for many years to come.

The appointment though has been met with anger from the Hammers faithful.

‘I can’t believe they’re rewarding that muppet for his incompetence,’ long-time Upton Park sufferer Gary Geezer told us. ‘It’s like that time when Dexter turned up at his own crime scene.’

Due to the extreme difficulty in obtaining planning permission to place the stadium itself beneath six feet of dirt it will instead be a symbolic funeral. A packed church service is scheduled for Tuesday lunchtime with a dignified singing of hymns that will include Ralph McTell’s Streets of London and Nick Berry’s seminal ode to adversity Every Loser Wins. The most loyal of supporters will then be invited to follow the hearse to a nearby graveyard.

The coffin is believed to contain nothing more than the scarf originally worn by Alf Garnett and one of the very first muck-mags that the club’s owners published.

Rob Green’s request to be one of the pallbearers was diplomatically turned down for fear that it may spill from his grasp.