Kevin Keegan joked: "I saw Mike's shirt. He asked me to sign it but I refused!"
Boss Keegan, back for his second spell as manager, added: "We've got a fantastic owner here.
"He's given us a lot of responsibility and we've got to make sure we encourage him to stay in this for the real long haul.
"If we're successful, he will.
"People like him don't turn up at a football club every day of the week and twice on Sundays. He's incredible. He's got no ego, he wants to go in with the fans and that's fantastic. He trusts you to get on with it.
"Let's hope we can repay that trust. I've never met anyone like Mike, he's definitely different, but I really like him.
"You're used to dealing with egos in this game, not just with chairmen and owners."
Ashley, who normally wears Alan Smith's name on his back, is ready to hand Keegan a £60million war-chest.
Keegan said: "If we get this place going, we will have the best owner in this country. But it's an 'if' until we get it going."