OAKLAND -- Six-year-old Edward Toomey cried when the Raiders decamped for Los Angeles in 1982. A decade later when the team was searching for another home, his mother told him he'd become a billionaire someday and bring the team back to Oakland.

The Raiders, of course, were lured back to the East Bay with more than $100 hundred million in taxpayer-funded renovations to O.co Coliseum. Now with the team's future home again in doubt, Toomey and dozens of other Raiders fans rallied outside the team's Alameda headquarters Saturday to remind millionaire owner Mark Davis how much football's most rebellious franchise means to them.

"With the Raiders, you are rooting for a mentality and a way of life," Toomey said.

Rally organizer Dr. Death tried to deliver a petition of 10,000 signatures in support of keeping the Oakland Raiders in Oakland to team owner Mark Davis,
Rally organizer Dr. Death tried to deliver a petition of 10,000 signatures in support of keeping the Oakland Raiders in Oakland to team owner Mark Davis, burt was asked to wait outside during a rally outside of the Oakland Raiders' headquarters in Alameda, Calif., on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The rally, organized by superfan "Dr. Death", was to let team owner Mark Davis know that fans want the team to stay in Oakland. Rally organizers hoped to hand Davis a petition with 10,000 signatures in support of keeping the Raiders in Oakland. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

These are anxious days for Raider Nation, a fan base that hasn't tasted a winning season in more than a decade.

Davis wants a new stadium that he can't afford to build. He says he wants to keep the team in Oakland, but he has expressed frustration negotiations with the city and private investors on a new facility and has floated the possibility of returning to Southern California, where he lives.

Last month, Davis declined to issue a nonbinding letter of interest in a city-proposed sports and entertainment center in Oakland and then said the snub didn't mean he had shut the door on the city.

The approximately 60 fans outside team headquarters Saturday struck a conciliatory note, at times chanting, "Thank you, Mark."


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"We don't want him to think that we're against him," said Ray "Dr. Death" Perez, a 26-year-old fan from Sacramento, who organized the rally. "We just want to say thank you for saying that Oakland is your number once choice. He needs to have an army behind him, and that's why we're here."

Perez, who was wearing his trademark Raiders hard hat, long black wig and face paint, briefly walked inside the headquarters with other fans asking to chat with Davis but were told the owner was busy with NFL draft. Davis did come out and talk with the fans later in the day, a team spokesman said.

Patty Gonzalez, of Pleasant Hill, came in full costume to a rally outside of the Oakland Raiders’ headquarters in Alameda, Calif., on Saturday, May
Patty Gonzalez, of Pleasant Hill, came in full costume to a rally outside of the Oakland Raiders' headquarters in Alameda, Calif., on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The rally, organized by superfan "Dr. Death", was to let team owner Mark Davis know that fans want the team to stay in Oakland. Rally organizers hoped to hand Davis a petition with 10,000 signatures in support of keeping the Raiders' in Oakland. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Fans attending the rally came from as far away as Denver and Seattle. They said that even fans outside the Bay Area know that the Raiders' identity is intertwined with Oakland's.

"Oakland is a tough, blue-collar resilient city, and the Raiders are the same way," said Walter Sprago, a fan from Reno. "It's a match made in heaven. It's important that they stay together."

Brien Dixon, 31, of Alameda, said he couldn't stomach the idea of the Raiders becoming tenants in the San Francisco 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara. "I don't want to be a second-class citizen," he said. "You really think we would like going to Santa Clara and seeing the Joe Montana and Bill Walsh statues?"

Many fans at the rally said they stuck with the Raiders when the team played in Los Angeles and would remain devoted no matter where it played. But not Toomey, who endured taunts of "Traitor Fan" in elementary school.

"Once is enough for me," he said. "I won't ever be a 49ers fan, but it would be kind of like a wife that cheats on you again. You've got to learn your lesson."

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.