The Toon Army will take Ashley's words with an Everest-sized amount of salt, with many viewing Ashley's "attempts" to sell Newcastle previous year as simply being a ploy to detract from his poor running of the club and to prevent him from spending in the January transfer window.
Speaking to Sky News on Monday, Ashley said it was "possible" a sale could be completed "before the January transfer window", although he wasn't in exclusive negotiations with an interested party.
The Sports Direct and House of Fraser boss did not name the prospective buyer of the Premier League club.
Prior to that, Ashley and businesswoman Amanda Staveley's PDC Capital Partners had failed to reach an agreement for a sale in January.
Asked about the likelihood of the month-long timeframe being met, he described it as "possible", stopping short of calling it realistic - saying it was "too strong a word".
"I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that can please everybody".
Newcastle take on Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday evening.
Ashley's specific timeframe of "before the January transfer window" suggests he is well aware the Newcastle squad needs strengthening, but is unwilling to be the man responsible for it.
Sportswear magnate Ashley announced he wanted to sell the club last October after more than 10 years in charge, having paid £134.4 million to buy Newcastle in 2007.
There has been disgruntlement among many fans about the level of transfer funds available to the club's manager Rafa Benitez.
Even still, Saturday's 3-0 defeat at home to West Ham was a timely reminder of the help Benitez needs, and was accompanied by a "late walk-in" protest from thousands of supporters, revolting against Ashley's ownership.
They are now 15th in the table with 12 points from their opening 14 fixtures, and face Wolves at St James' on Sunday with protestors calling for a boycott of the televised match.