Vincent Kompany wants to stay at Manchester City for the rest of his career. Given the revolution at Eastlands over the past three seasons, Kompany is already a relatively old stager there – originally signed from Hamburg by Mark Hughes as a midfielder who could play in defence when required, he has become one of the bedrocks at the back, earning himself a place in the PFA Premier League team of the year.
The 25-year-old has been one of the inspirations behind City's charge to the FA Cup final and increasingly more certain challenge for a Champions League place. Having come so far in such a short period of time, it is hardly a surprise that the Belgium international wants to hang around for a lot longer.
"I have made a lot of progress," Kompany said yesterday. "But I still have a lot more to show and bring to this club. I am definitely looking looking long term."
Despite his recent training ground clash with fiery striker Mario Balotelli, Kompany has been one of the more stable characters at City recently. He has even taken the captain's armband at times when Carlos Tevez has been injured and Kolo Touré was suspended for his failed drugs test. And the unqualified support he receives from the City faithful merely confirms his belief that he is at exactly the right place at this stage in his career.
"I have never been embraced as well as I have been here, by the fans and the country in general," he said. "I feel really comfortable here and I am proud to be a part of everything that is happening. I take nothing for granted and work hard every day, because I know when it happens, we should all consider ourselves lucky to be able to be part of such a beautiful story."
That story will have its next chapter once City have secured a top four spot in the Premier League. They will be celebrating on Saturday evening if a win at Everton is followed by a Tottenham defeat to Blackpool at White Hart Lane. More likely, it will take a result next Tuesday – and revenge – against the Spurs side who defeated them at Eastlands to take the same prize last term to ensure the battle does not go down to the final couple of matches.
"We are on course," Kompany said. "We have gone a tremendous way since the takeover happened three years ago. It is a completely different club and it would really be a great way to start the success story we want to have by achieving Champions League qualification and winning the FA Cup. That is our target, and it becomes even more important than ever now"
Manchester United have announced an across-the-board, £1-per-match increase on ticket prices for next season. The club say the decision is a direct result of the increase in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent, having absorbed the initial rise since the turn of the year. But United have taken up an idea put forward by the Fans Forum to reduce ticket prices for 16 and 17-year-olds, capping them at £20.
The increase means supporters purchasing a top-price season ticket will pay £950 for a 19-match home Premier League programme, with Champions League and FA Cup matches, which must be bought as well, on top.
Although the decision is likely to be greeted with dismay from fans' groups, who claim United's increasing turnover should allow for a cut in prices, the club have pointed out that tickets under the Glazer regime have not increased as much as they did during the final years of the PLC.
Taking into account the new prices, and this season's freeze, United's tickets will have increased on average by 5.8 per cent over the last six years, since the Glazer family completed their controversial takeover.
This compares with an average 5.9 per cent increase during the previous six years.