Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is already planning his summer recruitment drive as he attempts to rid the club of its soft "under-belly".
The 51-year-old was handed an eight-year contract last September - two days before the Magpies embarked on a run of just three wins in 18 Barclays Premier League games. Pardew revealed he was reassured his job was never under threat despite their alarming slide.
He said: "It's rare in football to have the position that I have had, and even with the results I had, the message from upstairs was that I was going to be retained as manager, which was a good feeling for me - perhaps not so much for our fans at times."
Pardew continued: "I hope to repay that in the longer term because obviously I was aware of the problems and I am aware of the problems we still have. We need to strengthen the under-belly of this football club and we need to do that this summer, probably.
"If we can do that, then we are going to be well-set for next year because we have got some very good players on our books now."
Ashley funded the January spending spree which saw Pardew recruit five senior players, one of whom - Moussa Sissoko - turned in a match-winning display in Saturday's 3-2 victory over European champions Chelsea.
That was as much an illustration of his continuing faith in the former West Ham boss as it was an admission that the club had got it wrong during the summer with its frugal approach, and Llambias confirmed that on Thursday. He told the Evening Chronicle: "The club has never had stability. It needs it. This is too big a club not to have stability.
"Do we want to find ourselves in a situation when we have a manager for 15 or 20 years? Absolutely. If the manager works, we work. You cannot get any better than that. Eventually you will bring to the club what it has been crying out for. Stability is a big thing for us."
Llambias also indicated that Newcastle are likely to concentrate on the European market once again when they look for further reinforcements, with British talent too expensive for their liking.
However, that was news to Pardew, who said: "That's a view that he has - it's not something that I personally hold. All the markets are open to us and whatever becomes available, we will take the best option we think is there."