A stat, a new captain, some speculation and ticket prices

I saw something last night that made me smile; we won more away games yesterday than we did all of last season. I don't remember who wrote it, so it's not mine to claim, but it does make you think that things really can only get better.

Yes, you can be forgiven for thinking it's going to be tough next season, but I was speaking to a Newcastle fan this week and it turns out Newcastle fans seem to think it is going to be tough for them and that they think in Di Matteo, we've got a manager with experience of the league and ability to get us out. So, with things getting better and maybe a real opportunity, there is room for optimism.

But I maintain that we need as few changes as possible from now on. Sure, we need to replace Gabby and Richards when they go, but we might be able to replace from within. And instead of replacing with numbers i.e. one for one, we should replace with quality. And with the £40mn we've got to spend and whatever we bring in from sales, the money is available to spend on quality.

And I wont have anyone tell me it's not going to work or that there are players we can not get. Not after last season. We now know anything is possible, so someone saying so and so wont come is the supporter that wont help us. We need to believe - it's no longer about slogans and PR - it's about acting.

A new captain

And with that, it looks like the manager is acting because it looks like we have a new captain in Tommy Elphick. Now, it just looks that way at the moment, but it is a positive sign, in the sense that the manager has picked a captain based on what a captain should be or what we would all like to think a captain should be.

We all know that Richards and Gabby are not captain material and that they're not picked hopefully means this manager isn't going to go on perception. Hopefully now it's only a matter of time before they are both gone. If they're involved next season, it almost certainly means no promotion so they have to go for the good of Aston Villa.

And I have to hold my hands up, I know very little about Tommy Elphick, but even while admitting that, I also believe he is a much better option than the other two. But I also believe I could do a better job than the other two and I even wrote that Jack Grealish should be an option for Aston Villa captain, so I think it's fair to say that anyone but those two would be a good option.


Right, I have to write a view on what others are speculating on because if I didn't, I'd feel cheap writing something if something did happen. And it's this; Ayew has had offers, but we have to do our best to keep him and that comes down to the manager. The same for Veretout, we have to do our best to keep him too. These two could be sensations in the Championship and it could be exactly what both need going into a Premier League season.

I believe if we keep these two and we can play them in their preferred positions, we've got players that could lead the goal scoring charts for the entire league. And that should tell you how important I think both of them are. It's not to say they wont both leave, but it's about how much work the manager has to do to keep them and what he has to do to get the best out of them. It isn't going to be easy though.

There is also talk that there is a French side after Sanchez and even though I like the idea of Sanchez, I'm fairly okay with accepting his style of football isn't suited in England and if we can get some money for him, it would be good business, even though it's fairly certain we're losing out.

There may be more speculation about other players, but for me, those are the three important ones and I don't want to get in to any more. Not now anyway.

Ticket prices

But before I go, I do want to mention something about the ticket price at Sheffield Wednesday. But before I give an opinion, I also want to write something about Twenty's Plenty - a campaign from the Football Supporters' Federation, because I agree 100% with this, but for Premier League clubs.

Clubs that are making millions upon millions from people paying to watch the matches at home have the money and that it needs a campaign, in this day and age worries me. But I think that is where it has to stay, in the Premier League. I also think that having a set price for all clubs is wrong, but I also understand that most football supporters wont see it the same way as me. For me, it should be something any club can decide to opt in or out of and why can't prices be different based on where the supporters are coming from?

I think it comes down to the club and we shouldn't forget that this is business. There is also no rule in place for Sheffield Wednesday so I think they should be able to charge what they want and if they believe they will make more money by charging what they are charging to Aston Villa fans, I think they should and I applaud them for recognising that Aston Villa fans will buy the allocation.

The only way the price is going to come down is if Aston Villa fans don't buy the tickets. If Aston Villa fans didn't buy at that price, then Sheffield Wednesday would lose out and so will every team in the Championship unless they bring down prices.

If we don't want clubs to treat us as customers, we should stop acting like customers. It's really simple economics. Personally, I don't want my club to offer cheap tickets to away supporters, because I don't want any away supporters in the stadium next season and because we're in a position of not needing the money as much as others this season, I think this should be an advantage we should take advantage of.

Likewise, most other clubs in the Championship would be extremely grateful that 3,000 Aston Villa fans turn up and pay £30 each to get in. But take all that away when it's over £30 a ticket because supporters act like supporters and not customers and you'll soon find that every away side this season sells tickets at £30.

The Championship clubs need as much money as they can get. It's why Twenty's Plenty doesn't really work anywhere else but the Premier League and it's why Sheffield Wednesday should be allowed to charge what they want.