On Wednesday afternoon, for once, all was well in the world of Newcastle United.
The club had unveiled three signings alongside Steve Bruce and they had not long finished telling reporters about the lure of their new surrounds when Mike Ashley’s helicopter swept into view.
For a few hours more all remained good, the owner’s rare visit perhaps a signal of renewed interest and welcome dialogue with his manager, who was there to greet his paymaster from the chopper.
All was, momentarily, well at Newcastle this week, as Steve Bruce met his new signings including Callum Wilson (right), Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis
Wilson is seen a solid recruit from Bournemouth and will pose a huge goal threat for the side
Ryan Fraser was previously linked with Arsenal before Newcastle courted his attention
But then Ashley booked a table at the Tomahawk Steakhouse on Newcastle’s Quayside for him and the squad and, with the meat still pink, he released an incendiary statement to turn Premier League chiefs red, reigniting the row over the club’s failed Saudi-led takeover.
What was he hoping to achieve by accusing the League of not acting ‘appropriately’ during the takeover process?
Was it an attempt to revive the £300million deal? Was the threat of legal action a precursor to a claim for compensation? Or was it just Ashley sounding off at those he blames for him still owning a club he wants to sell?
Whichever it was, the fallout has distracted from what had felt like an atypical week of positivity on Tyneside, the thought of which seemed unimaginable when the takeover collapsed in late July.
Youngster Jamal Lewis represents a new era for Newcastle, who are investing in talent again
Drained of enthusiasm for the club left behind and drained of energy from a ridiculous four-month saga played out in public, many supporters had given up.
But here we were on Wednesday afternoon, Bruce flanked by Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis, the air of negativity lifted and fans momentarily re-engaged with their club, excited by the side that was being put together.
That remains, of course, the players brought in allied to an already solid squad still has the look of being able to challenge further up the Premier League table than their 13th-placed finish.
But history tells us that, at Newcastle, off-the-field disruption invariably affects the rhythm of the team on