You know Ken Bates has really done a number on us when his silence manages to cause widespread panic.

The optimists are hoping that the silence and lack of transfer activity may be due to an imminent takeover of the club, with the latter a direct result of financial halts put in place whilst a deal is completed – common practice when a company is being sold.

The pessimists, realists and dissidents meanwhile suspect something more sinister is afoot. We all know that Ken Bates has never remained silent for this long in his entire life, so any prolonged absence from our airwaves is bound to get the rumour mill stirring – but was that his cunning plan all along? Was a summer-long absence from his weekly spot on Yorkshire Radio nothing more than a clever ruse to create takeover speculation that the chairman can later use to excuse a summer with very few new arrivals? “We were incredibly close to a deal, but the dissidents scared the would-be owners off at the last second…” which, coincidentally, just so happened to be transfer deadline day. Damn you all.

Those of us that have been driven to the ultimate levels of paranoia have even suggested our Chairman may be deceased, and that the only reason this hasn’t been confirmed yet is because Shaun Harvey is sinking our transfer funds into some reincarnation witchcraft that promises to bring eternal life to old Kenneth – it’ll probably work as well knowing our luck!

There are more plausible (and unfortunately, more boring) explanations too of course. It could just be that Ken Bates is dodging yet another court case by keeping his mouth shut and not landing himself another libel suit. Erm… Ken Bates keeping his mouth shut in case he annoys someone else…? Did I say more plausible? We were probably closer with reincarnation witchcraft.

Either way, Ken Bates’ silence is unprecedented. Sure the season is over and his manager is currently on holiday, but the absence of football has never stopped Ken Bates addressing the nation before – who else will tell all those nasty agents and mercenary footballers how greedy they’re being otherwise?

The takeover rumours, that have gained noticeable traction thanks to some cryptic responses to speculation on WACCOE and Twitter from the likes of LUST and The Square Ball are too good to believe for many. Good things just don’t happen to Leeds United Football Club, do they?

Coupled with the cryptic messages from people claiming to be in the know, the evidence is rather compelling. Ken Bates going silent, Neil Warnock still in place despite apparent absence of transfer funds and total silence from everyone else at Leeds United – it takes only a couple of seconds to dismiss the speculation, surely?

Even our failure to come up with £400k for Joel Ward doesn’t make much sense. Our recently published accounts may show only minimal profits, but a club with Leeds United’s turnover doesn’t struggle to find a measly £400,000. Maybe the failure is a result of a transfer embargo placed on Neil Warnock?

Maybe it’s the pessimist that’s grown inside me over the last seven years, but it just seems more likely that we’re all clutching at straws, forcing the evidence to fit the rumour.

The problem is, we’ve all been here before. Plenty of smoke and a genuinely raging fire that invariably burns us all for getting our hopes up.

Pessimism, paranoia and conspiracy theories are defence mechanisms that Leeds United fans have honed to perfection. Of course we all look a little mental roaming around Leeds with our tinfoil hats screaming to random passers by that Ken Bates is the spawn of Satan – but a few kids throwing stones hurts less than having the hope knocked out of us once again.