Those of us with long enough memories will read the suggestions of Carroll being rushed back early with a sense of deep trepidation.
Who can forget the lumbering shadow of the player that he once was that Ashton cut when he was rushed back following his ankle break? Look at his scoring record in the history books and it would be difficult to imagine that anything was ever seriously wrong - 19 goals in 43 starts (with another 13 appearances as a sub) is a record that Andy Carroll could probably only ever dream of - but look at another key stat and the truth shines out like a lighthouse on a moonless night. Incredibly, before and after the injury that terminated his career, Ashton only completed a full 90 minutes on 20 occasions for West Ham, after joining - like Carroll - for a then club record transfer fee.
The truth is, the guy was never fit. He arrived wrapped in more bandages than an Egyptian Mummy and a the move was threatened by a scan as part of the medical. Incredibly, he was taken off in his first 16 starts for the club, including in that epic Cup Final when we desperately needed a quality centre forward on the pitch for a penalty shoot out. So why did we buy him? Because we took a desperate gamble that other clubs chose not to take.
But having made that mistake once, it seems truly incredible that we made a carbon copy of the same error when we signed Carroll. Even as the deal was announced, I blogged that I hoped there was a clause cancelling the deal if Carroll's injury was more seriously than the club's doctors were suggesting. The guy was unfit, we knew it, but we still pledged £15m to sign him with no "Faulty goods" clause inserted. Staggering.
And now, as with Ashton, all hope is being pinned on Carroll, who will almost certainly be rushed back into action before he is ready. And we all know what will happen. We all know that 20 minutes into his first game back, Carroll with bend down, feel his heel, shake his head, wave to the bench and limp out of the remainder of the season.
These are dark, dark days for the club. The signing of Johnson is a joke and the prospect of playing a half fit Carroll is simply terrifying. Anybody looking forward to the game at Cardiff today? For me, the whole season feels like a recurring nightmare!