The Mail on Sunday says Ashley has made it clear that fans' favourite Shearer is not his first choice as manager to revive the club after their disastrous relegation from the Premier League.
And even if the former striker had succeeded in keeping Newcastle up in his eight games in charge, Ashley would have risked yet more anger from supporters by offering the job to Steve Bruce instead.
And with negotiations about the transfer budget and Shearer's personal terms having broken down, it is increasingly unlikely that the pair will be able to form a working partnership.
"It is an unbelievable situation," a source revealed. "The players are due to return for pre-season training in less than a month and nobody knows what's going on. Time is running short and the club needs to get somebody in quickly to sort things out."