Birmingham City awaited the publication of next season's football fixtures today with more excitement than any of the 92 clubs - if only to deflect the latest speculation about their long-term future.
The discovery of when exactly their team can renew verbal hostilities with Aston Villa is a subject that will temporarily knock even the St Andrew's takeover talks out of any Blues fan's head. And it could have a real effect in the boardroom too for the club's would-be buyers.
To be such a key part of arguably the most exciting day of the football summer, the morning when every Blues supporter sees their team paired once more with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and co, surely cannot fail to generate the interest that could oil the wheels on a deal being completed within the next week.
At the moment, the Blues board will be pleased simply that the unveiling of today's fixtures buys them much-needed time as they plot their next move under the scrutiny of intense media speculation. Five days on from reports in two Sunday tabloid newspapers that Blues were about to be bought for £70 million, a short statement from chairman David Sullivan on Saturday night and a Monday morning press release via the Stock Exchange have been the only public moves.
But there is understood to have been a delegation of men in suits of Far Eastern origin within the corridors of power at St Andrew's over the past two days, looking at the books. And, although the figure on the table is now expected to be nearer £40 million, rather than the fanciful £70 million originally touted, sources close to the club suggest that agreement on a deal is considered to be close.
One potential owner, billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, the London-based Indian steel magnate with an estimated £19.25 billion personal fortune, has been touted as a potential buyer. But that line of inquiry was fading last night when it was suggested that the visitors who spent the day talking to staff at St Andrew's yesterday were more likely to be from the Far East.
The one worry that all this takeover talk might limit Blues' activity in the transfer market has so far not been realised, judged by their £5 million offer for West Bromwich Albion duo Jason Koumas and Diomansy Kamara.
But, although any deal for Kamara now appears to be dead in the water, interest remains in Koumas. And, although, like Wigan Athletic, Blues are still short of the Baggies' asking price, they do have Rowan Vine up their sleeve as a bargaining tool.
Vine was initially a target for Albion in January, only to sign instead for Blues from Luton Town for over £2 million, a deal that earned him promotion.
Despite scoring arguably the club's most important goal of the campaign to beat Derby County in March, that was Vine's only strike and he ended the season as a peripheral figure following the arrival of on-loan Andy Cole, getting most of what football he did get in a wide role. Having moved his young family to the Midlands, a transfer across the city to play for a manager, Tony Mowbray, who has already tried to sign him once, at a level he is comfortable at, would be appealing.