THE feel-good factor took so long to make a return to Teesside Middlesbrough are in no hurry to rush it off the premises.
This Saturday, the town's football team takes on Cardiff City who sit in third place in the Championship, one position and one point behind where Boro find themselves.
Manager Tony Mowbray will take his team to Wales believing they can open up a gap on a side which cost many millions of pounds more than his own.
Chairman Steve Gibson has offered supporters free tickets for a home game in a bid to make the Riverside Stadium rock once more, as it did last Friday when Sheffield Wednesday were defeated.
Fans who buy tickets for the Bristol City home match on Saturday, November 24, will be given a complimentary ticket to the Huddersfield game four days later.
This a much harder sell when the team is 17th.
Mowbray loved the fact almost 30,000 people made it along on Friday and he is looking forward to more nights of football, fans and even some fun.
He said: “I think Friday was one of the best nights since I came back here.
“We have had a few crowds in the high 20,000s, but it was great to play well and win the match for the supporters who turned out.
“The chairman has come up with a deal for the next two games.
“I’m pretty sure he sat in the box on Friday night and enjoyed seeing the stadium full again and the atmosphere, noise and excitement.
“That’s what football is all about. I fully understand the frustration potentially of some season ticket holders and yet my mind has always been around surely those people are benefiting as well because they must enjoy the experience more with a better atmosphere. “
A full or almost full stadium lifts a team and deflates the opposition. That’s as true as night following day.
It’s why Mowbray welcomes any initiative that lures back the punters. He added: “I think it works two-fold. It supports your team and it discourages the opposition.
“If it’s half empty the other team can feed off that.
“The old adage of keeping the crowd quiet is much easier to do if it is half empty.”
Middlesbrough’s home crowds may have suffered, but the same can’t be said for their travelling support.
The away end at the Boro games tends to be jam-packed and noisy, no matter how far they have to travel.
South Wales is almost as far as it gets for Middlesbrough, but this is a game few will want to miss because a win on Saturday would surely give Mowbray’s men even more confidence about what they can achieve this season.
The Boro boss said: “I don’t think going to Cardiff holds any fears for us.
“They’ve won eight out of eight at home and that’s a fantastic achievement for them, but somewhere along the line they’re going to lose a game at home and why not Saturday?
“We’ll go down there in a positive mode, an attacking mode, and ask questions of Cardiff and yet we are very mindful of the talent they possess. We go in a positive mood and we’ll try and open up a gap on Cardiff.” Mowbray was speaking at the Rainbow Centre in Coulby Newham, where he visited a Teesside club for wheelchair footballers after the football club threw their weight behind a charity dedicated to helping local people in need of financial support.
The event also launched the club as patrons of the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and Mowbray took it upon himself to have a go.
He said: “I was trying not to damage anybody to be fair.
“It takes a bit of dexterity to move those chairs about but there’s amazing talent from those people in wheelchairs.
“It is a local charity and something the chairman will look at and want to help. It looks after Middlesbrough-based charities and that’s always been close to the chairman’s heart.”