They will rub their eyes this morning and ask if any of this was real. Then they will ask if this can be anyone but Leeds United's season.
The club's victory at Aston Villa on Sunday, the late, late show which went loco in the 95th minute, was seen as a defining result but it had nothing on their ambush of Blackburn Rovers which told Elland Road that Leeds are going up.
Villa's manager, Dean Smith, took a dig at United over the weekend, saying their players had celebrated an injury-time goal in Birmingham as if they had "won the title already", but the Championship trophy would hardly inspire a more riotous crowd surge than Kemar Roofe's winner in the fifth added minute yesterday. Four minutes earlier Leeds were all but beaten by Blackburn, 2-1 down and clutching at straws. Somehow Marcelo Bielsa did not even have to settle for a point.
United’s resurrection from the brink of defeat sucked Bielsa’s team into a tightly-packed huddle at full-time, the shoulder-to-shoulder celebration of players who knew they had produced something special in a season which might yet be.
Roofe, who served up the decisive finish at Villa Park on Sunday, had drawn Leeds level on 91 minutes by defying some exceptional goalline resistance from David Raya and his concentration was intact in the very last seconds when he hung in the air and headed in a Pablo Hernandez cross. Roofe swears blind that he never looks at the league table. He might have treated himself to a glance last night.
Bielsa prefers not to be told that promotion is on the cards but any club who win the Championship title and any club who get out of the league need results like Leeds' last two; the improbable, at-the-death and sometimes ridiculous scorelines which generate adrenaline and disbelief in equal measure. Once Elland Road stopped bouncing yesterday, the crowd became a sea of bewildered faces, a mass of people trying and failing to take it all in.
Leeds had been comfortable at half-time and ahead through Derrick Williams’ own goal. They allowed Rovers to reassert themselves at the start of the second half when Luke Ayling conceded a penalty and Charlie Mulgrew tucked it away, and Bailey Peacock-Farrell almost cut United's throat in the 90th minute by palming a Mulgrew free-kick inside his near post. There was no doubting that Blackburn thought the day was won or that Elland Road feared the game was up. In the past few days, it has not been up until Bielsa’s number seven scores.
They say, fairly or otherwise, that the Argentinian’s teams are prone to blowing themselves out and the onset of fatigue is the only scenario the rest of the Championship can hope for. Bielsa pushes players beyond their assumed limits, to lighter weights, higher levels of fitness, and - in his most successful years - to a greater level of performance but he is followed by the claim that the strain of the pressure his regime makes teams prone to a monumental crash; that the concept of Bielsa-ball has a limited shelf-life.
It would please the 23 teams in Leeds’ division, and especially those who are chasing their tail, to discover that this aspect of Bielsa's reputation is more than a myth and there is evidence in his best European season to date, the 2011-12 term, of Athletic Bilbao pulling up when it mattered but it does not look like a safe bet with Leeds. Six wins in a row became seven on Boxing Day, pushing United to the edge of a run of form they have not recorded for more than 80 years.
Bielsa is knocking on the door of certain records after only six months as head coach and a run of seven straight league wins is the best Leeds have seen for more than 11 years. Eight in a row has not happened in these parts since 1931, when a pre-war squad under the club’s original manager, Dick Ray, escaped from the old second division. Leeds are well on their way to finding a path out of the modern incarnation of Division Two and Norwich City, a side whose record is dripping with victories, are struggling to keep up.
Leeds edged fine margins in the weeks before Christmas - a 95th-minute winner at Villa on Sunday, an injury-time penalty kept out during their 1-0 win over Reading - but for all the mayhem in injury-time against Blackburn, it does not feel like luck was at the root of their results. Bielsa is winning the fight for small percentages with a consistency of coaching which nurtures consistent football, and the usual tactical patterns were at play for much of yesterday's match.
Tony Mowbray had done his homework and employed the high press to complicate Leeds’ attempts to play out from deep. The first half-hour went by without anything clicking properly but United slipped into the familiar routine of passing, moving and probing until something gave. In the 33rd minute, after a spate of attacks, Jack Harrison hit the byline and drove in a left-footed cross which Williams banged into Blackburn's net in blundering, unflattering style. Williams looked to a hole to swallow him up but Harrison, after a half-season of little end product and the humiliation of being substituted at half-time against Villa on Sunday, had something to enjoy in the assist.
One-nil could have been 2-0 within minutes as Gjanni Alioski curled a Barry Douglas pass against the face of Blackburn’s crossbar and Leeds were a second goal away from killing the match but a minute into the second half, Ayling took down Mulgrew with a rash sliding tackle which caught the defender as he laid the ball off inside United's box. Referee Stephen Martin clocked the foul and pointed to the spot. Mulgrew picked himself up and dispatched a well-hit penalty.
Bielsa let the situation ride for a short time but turned to Jack Clarke, his go-to substitute when goals are needed, with 30 minutes to play. Leeds chipped away but were lucky to see Kalvin Phillips appear in the right place to block a goalbound shot from Rovers substitute Harrison Reid. Blackburn then relied on Martin to look away when a Hernandez shot hit the arm of Corry Evans but the flow of chances for Bielsa's teams, many dropping outside Rovers' area, were too speculative to bother Raya.
Then, with injury-time on the way, the game lost its marbles.
Mulgrew struck first, with a 90th-minute free-kick which Peacock-Farrell failed to read and gloved weakly into his net but Blackburn buckled a minute later after Raya produced two fine saves to deny Pontus Jansson and Hernandez, only to see Roofe batter a second rebound over the line. Goalline technology gave it and a point would have done but as the 95th minute came, Roofe came good as he had at Villa, timing his jump and prodding a header into the corner of Raya's net.
Even a stadium as old as Elland Road has seen very little like it.