For Newcastle fans this month's transfer window promises to be the usual Ashley-inspired headfuck of thwarted moves - Kilgallon stays put, Beckford withdraws transfer request - uninspiring loan signings (Blackburn Rovers reserve? Get yer bags packed now) and speculation that yet more of our miniscule first-team squad is about to be sold over the manager's head.
A degenerate gambler (Tony Soprano's words, not mine), Ashley's running our promotion campaign like a ten-pence flutter on the National: the only players we sign come with Sports Direct stickers attached and 70% knocked off the recommended retail price. The penny pinching reached its nadir this week with the news that we couldn't agree terms with averagely-talented Manchester United reserve Danny Simpson - and after the poor dear had been on Twitter to say happy in newcastle :) whats gonna happen in january. It's not just that sentence which lacks a question mark: Danny's so far down the pecking order at Old Trafford they even play Gary Neville before him.
Brace yourselves for Ashley's last-day helicopter rescue mission to the club's training ground and news of a shock, unrealistic transfer target. "We did all we could but ran out of time," a club insider will lie. Hughton will subsequently declare that he was satisfied with his squad all along, thereby fulfilling an important part of his job description. If we don't get any injuries and everyone stays in form Ashley's gamble might even come off. If it doesn't though, we're fucked - and the only silver lining is so is he.
Ashley a man with business acumen? Don't make me laugh.
UPDATE: Solano? Why do I get the impression we do most of our scouting in the News in Brief section of Britain's tabloid papers? I love the bloke but what's next, free agent Graeme Souness as tough-tackling cover for Alan Smith?