Mike Ashley travelling to Tyneside on Wednesday night for a meal out with Rafa Benitez, coaching staff, playing squad, and various Mike Ashley hangers-on.
A very visible and accessible public venue/restaurant was chosen, with a healthy turnout of media handily tipped off.
When Mike Ashley or his people say anything, the temptation is to believe the opposite.
A bonding exercise between club owner and manager & playing staff, or some part of a PR game?
The previous week had seen Mike Ashley turn up for two NUFC Premier League matches, his first in 13 months. Yet before and after both games, he never bothered speaking to Rafa Benitez, or indeed the players.
A surprising amount of detail from the two and a half grand meal has been forthcoming, suggesting somebody is keen to milk it for all it is worth.
If only Mike Ashley had kept his hands in his pockets, they just might have got away with it.
Instead, after seeking refuge in a people carrier following the meal, the Newcastle United owner formed two fingers into a V as Newcastle fans chanted ‘Where’s the money gone?’, Mike Ashley later releasing an official statement claiming that it most definitely wasn’t a V-Sign to supporters.
A charm offensive that saw defeat snatched from the jaws of victory at the last possible moment, it could be the story of our lives supporting Newcastle United.
Clearly the PR offensive was aimed at anybody but Newcastle fans, Ashley and his spin merchants know that this is a waste of time now.
Instead, the breaking of bread in Ponteland was to cloud the judgement of neutrals and media when it comes to Mike Ashley’s running of the football club.
An honest bloke trying to do his best, building bridges and engendering a new club/team spirit both on and off the pitch.
After over 11 years worth of experience, such tokenism was never going to really succeed to any great degree.
We all dream of it proving to be Mike Ashley’s last supper but clearly Newcastle United is far too important to the owner’s empire for him to be shaken off easily.
He is up to something with this return to being visibly associated with Newcastle United, working out just what that is, is definitely food for thought.