MIKE Ashley today paid a flying visit to Newcastle United's training ground in his private helicopter as talks to thrash out the club's future continue.
Ashley landed in the last hour with managing director Derek Llambias at United's Darsley Park training headquarters before making his way across pitches towards an office block.
Wearing his trademark open-necked white shirt, Ashley appeared relaxed and was sharing a joke with Llambias as he strolled towards the headquarters of the club's training base.
The helicopter then left the training ground at shortly before 1.10pm - with Ashley apparently on board.
It is understood that the club's owner spoke to senior players before leaving after less than an hour on North East soil.
It is unclear at this stage what he said but the on-going takeover saga - and the club's loss of several key players - is sure to be high on the agenda.
Ashley is in negotiations with local businessman Barry Moat to take over the club and is known to be seeking a conclusion to the long-running saga in the next week or so.
The owner is also looking to make progress on the club's managerial situation - and is likely to seek talks with caretaker boss Chris Hughton this afternoon.
But the sight of him at the training ground will also prompt hopes that the infernal takeover situation is close to resolution. Moat hopes to get the green light from Barclays Bank this week for a loan which would help him complete a takeover.
Although Ashley always planned to attend the Sheffield Wednesday game, the move may be viewed as significant because he has arrived more than 24 hours before Wednesday night's kick off.
Meanwhile, former Spurs central defender Graham Roberts today claimed he is fronting a consortium that hopes to buy Newcastle United.
The 50-year-old former England international is thought to be part of a group seeking a meeting with the club's board to discuss a possible buy out of the Championhip side.
The consortium is the latest in a host of parties to have expressed an interest in buying the club, but as yet none has come up with the necessary funds.