As a ginger haired man who made his money flogging singing fish, Barry Moat is doubtless used to living in hope. On his attempt to buy the club: "I'll keep beavering away in the background, and hopefully one day we'll get there". Or on what Ashley might do next: "Hopefully he'll make some investment in the club. Hopefully we'll get some commercial partners...Hopefully the money will be spent on the playing squad and that bears fruit and we get back to where we deserve".
Hopeless, on the other hand, is how most people would describe his timing - less than a week after the launch of a fan-based buy out whose overtures he has so far studiously ignored. Likewise his enthusiasm for selling the naming rights to St James' Park, as if a maximum of £3 million a year could even begin to bridge the gap with the Premier League. At current values, we'd be lucky to get a quarter of a Milner, less wages.
Whatever remote chance he had of pulling off a sale - and there are still plenty who think Moat was only ever a means of deflecting attention from Ashley's inability to find a genuine buyer - has long since been and gone. If he's serious about helping the club, now's the time to stop ignoring NUST and put some money behind a bid that actually stands a chance of success.