Aston Villa's long suffering fans have seen too many false dawns to start any premature celebrations.
But the dream that Villa's 82-year-old chairman Doug Ellis will finally call it a day after nearly a quarter of a century as the club's figurehead last night appeared to be a significant step closer to reality.
A planned £64million takeover by Irish-owned property company Comer Homes Group is likely to be concluded in Birmingham this week. And Villa fans groups are hoping it will signal the launch of a new era that might see the club and manager David O'Leary finally make a realistic challenge
for the privilege of Champions League football.
Ellis, and Villa's other major shareholder Jack Petchey, are understood to have agreed to sell their combined stake of 58 per cent at a price of £5.60 a share - an offer which will be put to the shareholders over the next few weeks. And brothers Brian and Luke Comer, whose company has assets of £1billion, are set to complete the formalities of the planned takeover at a meeting with Ellis and his Villa board.
Villa Fans Combined spokesman Jonathan Fear said: "It is fantastic news.
"We've had a lot of chances to push on before and the board haven't taken them. If they have negotiated a deal with the spending power that reports are claiming then, with the foundations in place, we should not only start competing for Europe but also compete once we are there.
"The fans no longer have any belief that the club is moving forward so with a new group, at last, everyone will have big sigh of relief and move forward. Hopefully it is the dawning of a new era."
Ellis, who underwent triple heart bypass surgery in the summer, may stay on in a non-executive role. But it will effectively mark the end of his 23-year reign as Villa supremo - his second stay on the board as part of a 37-year association with the club that excluded both the 1981 League title and the following year's European Cup win.
And, despite his worthy attempts to keep the club in the black despite the rash spending of some of Ellis's choices as manager, the initial impression is that there will be few regrets on the terraces.
"He knows his health is poor," said Fear. "And he must know at the age of 82 that it is time to move over.
"He might be a lot of things but he is not an idiot."