And reading between the lines, it was Chris Hughton's lack of endevour in the two cup competitions that didn't sit well with the NUFC owner.
We all know promotion was first on the list of priorities last season, but we had a big enough squad to try a bash at the League Cup and FA Cup.
But Hughton insisted on playing kids and reserves, as though he couldn't wait to see the end of the cup trail.
It frustrated the fans (well it certainly upset ME, seeing a weakened side when we could have done far better) and I know for a fact Ashley was not a happy man seeing the big names dropped for the big occasion.
According to our man at St James' Park: "Ashley didn't believe we would win a thing under Hughton, because the cup competitions were never taken seriously.
"Ashley felt 'why enter the competitions if we don't go out to win them?', and I think the fans believed that too.
"Hughton threw away the opportunity, but Pardew has tasted the excitement of taking a team to Wembley and he will tackle it far more professionally."
The Magpies have won the competition six times, but not since 1955 despite a series of near misses, and Pardew, who has himself come close to lifting the trophy as both a player and a manager, believes it could represent a genuine chance of silverware.
Alan Pardew: "This club ultimately needs to hunt for trophies and if you could win a cup, that's certainly going to be the easier route than trying to win the Premier League, which we know is awfully difficult with the finances of some of the top clubs.
"For me, the next game is our most important, and the cup has always been really good to me.
"I have some fantastic memories and I know the momentum it can build.
"I have played in this competition at every level and I know what it means to Stevenage, and if our application and preparation aren't the same, we are going to find ourselves on the wrong end of an upset.
"The players are not immune from that and they understand that the focus needs to be right, otherwise we are going to be in trouble at Stevenage.
"But also, we do have that massive game around the corner where the desire to keep the shirt must be there because any players in the squad would love to play in that game. It's a really big, big game."