At a depressed, half-full Elland Road, Leeds United supporters who were served up most recently a 6-1 home defeat to Watford still cleave to what they see as a rightfully higher place in football's firmament than 18th in the Championship. "Living the dream" and thin gruel since have landed Leeds where they are today, yet still fans raised on better days cherish a dream on damp Yorkshire nights: "We are champions, champions of Europe."
Today, after almost six months wondering and scant information, Leeds fans hope the news that the Bahraini-owned Gulf Finance House Capital will, after all, buy their club from Ken Bates and can deliver their battered club back towards the promised land.
The announcements, by Bates himself and GFHC, were again not over-weighty with detail, one of the more solid being Bates's own assurance, no doubt a relief to Leeds fans, that, at 80, he will continue as chairman until the end of the season "when I will take over as president".
GFH said three of its executives, Hisham Alrayes, Salem Patel and the English lawyer David Haigh, will join the board immediately while "the board and leadership of the club is further strengthened", then a GFH-appointed chairman will replace Bates.
The private equity firm, based in Dubai and owned by the financially embattled Gulf Finance House in Bahrain, noted that it has already "financially supported the club" — the firm put £2m in while talks were continuing — "for working capital and to support Neil Warnock's intentions to strengthen the team".
Haigh employed the Leeds' fans yearning in his own quote: "Let's now march on together, taking the club back to the Premier League as soon as possible." Alrayes hoped, somewhat enigmatically, to "help bridge national and international borders with football".
The fans have not lacked for hype over the years, but there has not always been cash and good stewardship, and they have only hope to cling to, still, that GFH, their own Middle East takeover, has better to offer than the deepening miseries of Bates' fractious ownership.
There has been no real explanation, in all the oceans of club print and airtime given over to Bates' pronouncements, of why Leeds have been apparently so lacking the money to strengthen for Warnock a team to win promotion. The fans dug out for themselves the detail in the most recent accounts that two years' season-ticket money was mortgaged to build dining and corporate facilities in the east stand that nobody ever chanted for.
Haigh stated: "We have today injected further funds into the club." Bates said: "[GFH] are backed by the right resources, including a very wealthy individual."
But there was no grown-up informing of supporters who have loyally paid Premier League prices for Championship fayre, to tell them who this wealthy individual is, with how much he is backing GFH, where the money has come from, and what plans they have, including the returns they expect to make.
It seems clear this is not a benefactor-style takeover on the model of Manchester City or Leeds' old rivals and Bates' former club Chelsea. Their manager, Roberto Di Matteo, was being sacked at the time the Leeds statements were going up, for performances felt to fall short for the £1bn Roman Abramovich has poured in since he bought Chelsea from Bates in 2003.
Nor is there publicly announced detail about what GFH has paid Bates, or whether it is the £44m reliably suggested last week. As Bates owns 73% of the club via a company, Outro Ltd, registered in the tax haven of Nevis, and he is resident in Monaco, and capital gains tax is the UK tax from which such exiles are exempt, it can be assumed he will not be paying tax on the gain he has made from selling Leeds United.
Leeds fans jaded by their own plummet while the Premier League's fortunes have soared have grown too realistic to hope for an immediate Sheikh Mansour-like super-charge. GFH describes itself as a private equity firm, its most recent accounts show $294m (£184.5m) accumulated losses, so it will surely need to show a return for so much money invested in the non-core business of a provincial English football club.
The prospect of £5bn washing through the Premier League in television money alone from 2013-16 will not be unconnected to its own aspirations, as that crock of gold is to the increasing overseas business interests taking over Championship clubs.
Leeds supporters will settle, for now, with doing a bit better, for visible progress, an improved atmosphere around the club. Bates has boasted of stabilising them financially – as the chairman he cleared debts by taking Leeds into administration in 2007 – but the relations between him and many fans has been soured by the cult of personality in which even now, at his age, he has indulged in.
Many different targets have been sneered at in his two-page programme notes and platforms on the club's in-house radio and TV stations, including the Guardian. This came for us after covering the ongoing mystery about who actually owned the club between Bates' arrival in 2005 as the chairman representing, he said, unnamed investors via offshore companies, and his announcement last year that he himself had bought the club via Outro, for a sum and in circumstances he never revealed.
Leeds fans, led by the supporters' trust which has maintained its dignity despite attacks from Bates, will seek more information, and to be treated like grown-ups in the way the better football clubs do in the 21st century. They will hope that this takeover, odd as it would all have seemed just a few years ago, will work out, that it can improve the mood as well as the fortunes at Elland Road, a grand old football ground which has seen a lot in its time, and deserves to see better.