The “legacy” left behind by the poisonous shop keeper will take considerable time to eradicate following the years of neglect and many errors during his ownership of Newcastle United. He walked away with £305m but if it hadn’t been for some of his more significant mistakes, it could have been very different.

The downing of a pint at the Emirates was embarrassing, as were the stories of him wandering around The Bigg Market (presumably pissed) in a replica shirt. Such things were never going to make or break Ashley’s ownership of our club but they did offer a glimpse into the mind of a bloke who didn’t have a clue what he was doing. I’m no fan of Allardyce but he was shown the door with Newcastle 11th in the league and 9 days into the January transfer window. It’s impossible to say whether sacking Allardyce at this point was a smart move but it’s certain that it wasn’t a well thought out decision with no replacement lined up; Ostrich fancier Pearson took charge for 7 days before Keegan returned. I was in the car with my Dad when 5-Livereported that Keegan was in the standsat SJP with Ashley to watch us beat Stoke. We were optimistic but what did we know? Not a lot it turns out…

Ashley’s first monumental error was just around the corner and it would not go down well with fans or Keegan – here’s Dennis! Ashley knows nothing about football and less about how to run a football club so he needed football knowledge in the boardroom. To this day I’ll never understand why it was felt that Dennis Wise was the right man for that job. This is particularly confusing when you consider Keegan’s comments about such a model when linked with the Director of Football job at Newcastle when Allardyce was still in charge “…it doesn’t work”.Keegan wasn’t consulted when Ashley turned to Wise, Jimenez and Vetere but what if he had been? What if Ashley had discussed the absence of an experienced football man in the board room with Keegan and taken his advice on how to address that?

We didn’t have to wait long for another catastrophic error- Ladies and Gentlemen, Joe Kinnear! The man needs no introduction as far as his two spells on Tyneside are concerned, both were disastrous. Theypointed again to a total lack of understanding on Ashley’s’ part and to thelack of football knowledge in the board room. What if Ashley had learned from previous mistakes at this point and looked to take a DoF from another club to help him with his next managerial appointment? Someone who was tried and tested; who understood the game and what Newcastle needed to progress – surely Kinnear wouldn’t have got a look in.

Not an error or mistake but actions that deserve to be acknowledged for what they were -nothing short of disgusting. Jonas Gutierrez was frozen out after his cancer diagnosis purely to prevent him triggering a contract extension – he had, in Ashley’s eyes, become a liability rather than an asset. Jonas scored against West Ham on the last day of the 2015 season to seal our survival and the following year, he won his tribunal against the club. Ashley’s actions were cruel, calculated and immoral; offering a glimpse into the mind of such an odious man.

There were many more mistakes made by Ashley; renaming SJP, Pardew’s 8-year contract, renaming Shearer’s,hiring McLaren, constant lack of communication with fans, sacking Hughtonand of course, Steve Bruce. Allowing Benitez to leave when he had the chance to keep him is up there but if we’re honest, the damage had already been done and having Rafa in the front masked a whole host of problems in the back.

Ashley’s biggest mistake however was not realising the potential of the club, something that the “tyre kicker” Amanda Staveley doesn’t struggle with. Summer 2012 and we’d finished 5th and qualified for the Europa league – nearly 11 years later and the closest we’ve managed is 10th. We overachieved but we had an exciting team with standout talent like Cabaye, Colo, Cisse and HBA. That summer turned out to be the only real opportunity Ashley had in 14 years to kick on, to establish ourselves as a team that could regularly challenge for improved Premier League places, domestic cups and European qualification. Ashley didn’t see itand instead of pushing on we spent £8m to bring Anita, Good, Bigirimana and Amalfitano to SJP. No attempts were made to improve the commercial revenue of the club, our shirt sponsor would go bust half way through the season and the team were losing, a lot.Gamble after gamble didn’t pay off and we finished 16th just 12 months after finishing 5th.

Ashley failed miserably to move the club forward at a time when he had the best and cheapest opportunity to do so. I genuinely believe that a transfer kitty of around £50m would have sufficed that summer and with that we could have built on the 5th place finish. We could have started the 12/13 season with a better team, a better squad and even a stadium called St James Park – what a difference that would have made. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, a rejuvenated fanbase is incredibly valuable for Newcastle and whilst Ashley made so many mistakes in 14 years, failure to capitalise on that summer in 2012 tells you everything you need to know about him – it could have all been so different.

Rus Trevethick – Twitter: Rus8410