Ashley bought 41.6% of Newcastle in May 2007, before acquiring full control of the club in July.
Barton signed for the club in the midst of the takeover, agreeing a £5.8 million switch from Manchester City in June, roughly one month before Ashley gained 100% ownership of the Magpies.
Despite pumping money into the club, it is well known that Ashley has a frigid relationship with the Toon faithful, and attempts at joining in with fans have done little for his public persona. He has been largely blamed for the appointment of Alan Pardew, and whilst the coach has received some praise in recent weeks due to the club’s upturn in form, Ashley has still had to face the critics who want him to leave Tyneside.
Barton himself was the centre of much criticism in his early times at St James’ Park, and it wasn’t until the Magpies’ season in the Championship that he was truly given a chance to prove himself. A key part of the side who cantered to promotion, he remained a central figure in their first season back in the Premier League, before leaving the club to sign for QPR.
Having arrived at the club prior to Ashley’s takeover, the 32-year-old was only ever involved with the previous management, and he told the Chronicle that he wouldn’t have signed for Newcastle had he spoken to the 50-year-old businessman before agreeing his deal.
Barton - who returns to St James’ Park with Rangers this weekend - said: “I never signed for Mike Ashley and I do not think if I had had a conversation I would have signed for him, I don’t know…
“I did not have much choice in the matter because as soon as I signed for the club within two months there had been a takeover and a change of manager.
“I signed up to be part of a side I felt was going somewhere and the lie of the land changed very, very quickly.”