He once mixed with the supporters, having a pint in Newcastle pubs and throwing his dosh around 'buying' friendship.
But, although buying a club to put his face in national newspapers to boost his business ventures seemed sound advice, it hasn't been the ride he expected.
I'm not saying it has been a disaster for Ashley - because he gets his face on the front page of those newspapers these days - and ANY advertising is GOOD advertising.
And that seems to be the big problem ... because Ashley couldn't give a shit how "Sports Direct" gets a mention, and the more fans bring it to everyone's attention, the happier Ashley becomes.
I know loads of supporters who say "don't shop at Sports Direct", but Ashley's shops are always full of customers when I pass.
Ashley is a Spurs supporters, and don't believe the bollox from Derek Llambias when he said "Ashley hates Spurs", because that is not true.
He was advised to buy a major football team and Spurs were not on the market ... NUFC was.
He has no link to Geordies; the town; the supporters; or stottie cakes ... it's all about business ... and he runs it like one.
We didn't buy a single player in the summer transfer window - but Ashley took £18m out of the coffers.
Why? Because he can! It's HIS club, he can do what the hell he wants.
Only ONE thing will get him out of Newcastle. Not protests, refusing to buy pies, banners, or cruel words - the one thing that rules his world - MONEY!
And Chronicle reporter John Gibson hits the nail on the head.
JOHN GIBSON: The natives are restless. They wish to get rid of Mike Ashley, to run him out of Toon and pray the next guy is more fan-friendly.
United’s supporters are tired, exasperated, angry, resigned and bitter all at one time.
They are sick and fed up of being perceived as a laughing stock by others residing elsewhere in a better place.
The final humiliation for them was the farcical return of Joe Kinnear and the resultant farce of the summer transfer window.
What to do has become the talking point... march in protest waving banners and flag of defiance, boycott the home Capital One Cup tie against Leeds say others to hit Ashley in the pocket. Stop buying pies, pints, programmes and paraphernalia is a further desperate suggestion.
Yeah, okay, all right. We get the drift.
However, let us cut to the bottom line. Even if rebel fans don’t wish to hear it, the truth is that Ashley won’t leave until he is good and ready. Until a buyer waves enough millions in his direction or he gets bored with his latest toy and his acts of indifference.
Public opinion bothers Ashley not a jot – or at least not enough for him to up tent in the middle of the night and scurry out of town.
When the blow torches are turned up, as in the past, he merely stops coming to games until the clouds clear. Not actually residing in the city is to his distinct advantage.
Ashley has presided over a series of dramas – publicly snubbing local heroes Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, a suicidal slide to relegation, using then humiliating Chris Hughton, threatening to rename St James’ Park, and taking on controversial sponsors Wonga.
So why should the appointment of a walking PR disaster – Kinnear – and a steadfast refusal to invest in players more than is necessary to stay alive be any different?
Now I’m not suggesting protest is never worthy. If voices were never raised against mountainous odds then miracles would never happen.
However, I’m not holding my breath either. I’m not expecting a public statement that ‘the honourable thing’ is about to be done and the club is to be given away for a pound ‘because it is what its customers want.’
Ashley would argue if he ever spoke to us minions that he has paid for the right to be master and that is what he will continue to be.