Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has insisted he is going nowhere after the resignation of managing director Derek Llambias plunged the club into fresh chaos.
The 51-year-old confirmed his intention in a brief message to the city's evening newspaper as news of Llambias' departure, which came in the wake of Joe Kinnear's controversial arrival as director of football, emerged.
Pardew told the Chronicle: "I'm staying - to take the club up the league."
It was the manager's first comment since the circus which has accompanied Kinnear's unveiling as the new senior executive in charge of all football-related matters at St James' Park pitched tent on Gallowgate.
Pardew and Kinnear met for the first time since the 66-year-old Irishman was appointed on Tuesday, and Press Association Sport understands the initial talks were amicable.
But it remains to be seen whether or not he and highly-rated chief scout Graham Carr can forge a working partnership with a man who has a high opinion of his own abilities, but whose return to St James', where he was manager for less than six months during the 2008-09 season, has been greeted with incredulity by the club's fans.
Llambias, however, has already voted with his feet and decided the time was right to end his five-year stay on Tyneside.
The former casino boss has played a key role in the day-to-day running of the club and was heavily involved in its transfer business, although some of those duties have now passed to Kinnear.
Llambias' departure was announced in a statement issued at around 8.40am, 20 minutes before the fixtures for the new season, which handed the Magpies a tough start away at Manchester City, were due to be published.
It said: "The club can announce that managing director Derek Llambias has resigned from his position with immediate effect."
Llambias, who is currently out of the country, was diplomatic in his comments less than 24 hours after he had welcomed Kinnear to the club.
He said: "I have had an incredible journey during my five years at the club, including some challenging times.
"I will reflect with great fondness on my time in the north-east and in me, Newcastle United have a lifelong supporter.
"I want to thank the staff for their hard work, our fans for their support of the club, and wish them all well for the future."
However, behind the scenes, Newcastle is a club in turmoil once again with even senior staff unaware of Kinnear's impending arrival until he announced it himself in a television interview on Sunday evening.
It is not yet clear if Llambias will be replaced, although his departure has left a business which Ashley monitors from distance somewhat rudderless with finance director John Irving, club secretary Lee Charnley and Kinnear the most senior executives still in post.
That decision will come from Ashley, whose apparently unilateral decision to install Kinnear effectively tossed a grenade into St James', and the scope of the damage is still being assessed.
There is disquiet in certain quarters at Kinnear's outspoken and at times factually incorrect media pronouncements to date, which have seen him insist he is more intelligent than Newcastle's fans and also mispronounce the names of several players.
His public performances so far have done little to enhance his reputation among supporters who are still wondering why a man who has had only one short spell in mainstream football in the past nine years has been handed such a senior role.
Llambias will not be mourned by many after his roles in the alienation of Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, the stadium naming disaster and the Wonga saga in particular.
But he was a key mover in the positive steps the club took in the wake of relegation from the Barclays Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season, including the implementation of the financial model which has seen the Magpies record a profit in each of the past two financial years.
Mark Jensen, editor of online fanzine www.themag.co.uk, said: "I can honestly say I never, ever thought I would think Derek Llambias leaving Newcastle would leave them in a weaker state than they were. But as I sit here today, that's how I feel.
"I almost feel sorry for Derek Llambias. Anybody who doesn't think that this is linked to the appointment of Joe Kinnear, I think they should be walking around with a big hat on saying, 'I'm not right'."