The past is the past. On billboards around the stadium, in the programme, even on the players' T-shirts when they came out to warm up, the message was everywhere around sold-out Elland Road.
Life is not that straightforward but the sense of renewal before the game kicked off was genuine enough. Watching the Leeds United chairman Salah Nooruddin and his fellow directors strolling urbanely in front of the North Stand, chatting to hardcore supporters, it was interesting to speculate what the consequences might have been if the former owner Ken Bates had tried something similar. One of the club's fanzines printed a double page spread headed "Ken Bates: A tribute from the world of football." It was, predictably perhaps, entirely blank.
Such was the feeling of deliverance that the Leeds fans would probably have settled for a draw once Ross McCormack, with a clever touch and accurate cross-shot, had equalised Leonardo Ulloa's powerfully finished opener.
Even more so after Paddy Kenny had kept them level with three outstanding second-half saves, from Andrew Crofts, Iñigo Calderón and, with five minutes remaining, Will Buckley. That the new signing Luke Murphy prodded home a winner deep into added time, albeit after seeming to control Matt Smith's knockdown with his hand, simply made a great day perfect. Brian McDermott said the atmosphere had surprised even him. "I've obviously managed teams at Leeds before but I don't remember it being like that, it was phenomenal. If we could get that every week, with the feelgood factor running through the place, it would be really important.
"I don't think it would have sucked the optimism away if we'd lost. If you've got the philosophy that you try to grow together as a team and a club, you can't be reliant on one result. I've won a league [the Championship with Reading] when I could have gone bottom after seven games, if we'd lost against Doncaster."
Defeats will come before long, because defensively Leeds looked as suspect as they did last season, but in terms of credit McDermott now has plenty in the bank. As well as Murphy in midfield, his two other signings, the forwards Noel Hunt and Smith, also impressed, the latter as a late substitute, and using McCormack in the hole behind the strikers worked well.
Oscar Garcia also impressed in his resolute refusal to blame the referee for missing Murphy's possible handball. Desperate Dan chin jutting defiantly, Brighton's new manager was more concerned with the failure of his side to take the chances that would have seen them puncture Leeds's bubble.
"We deserved to draw but I am happy [with the progress] from the time we are working with the team, yes, though for sure we will improve and play much better." Asked in which areas in particular he wanted to see improvement, the response was dry. "Tomorrow the players will know."
The next step for Leeds off the field may be to buy back Elland Road. The club sold their ground for around £8m nine years ago and have been paying £1.5m a year to lease it back. The buy-back clause is understood to be set at £15m, proof, if it were needed, that it will take some time for the club to leave the past completely behind.
Man of the match Paddy Kenny (Leeds)