Etihad Airways Fly English Soccer Legends

Published March 6th, 2006 - 07:34 GMT

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is continuing to bring the leading names in sport to the UAE, with Liverpool and Everton football legends, Ian Rush, Peter Reid and Dave Watson the latest stars set to visit Abu Dhabi.

“Etihad’s commitment to football and sport is unquestionably growing. After welcoming the Brazilian national team as Guests of Etihad last year, we are delighted to be bringing more of the world’s true legends of football this month,” said Ian Ferguson-Brown, Head of Brand Management and Communications, Etihad Airways.

Etihad’s close alignment to the sporting world has continued into 2006 with the airline’s sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship which saw the world’s best golfers such as Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia and John Daly competing in the UAE’s capital.

“Etihad Airways is synonymous with style and innovation, and the visit of Ian Rush, Peter Reid and Dave Watson demonstrates that not only are we providing a world-class airline, but we are also bringing the biggest names in sport to the region,” continued Ferguson-Brown.

Recent Etihad Airways sporting highlights also include the Zayed First International Handball Championship, and the international exhibition ice hockey match in Canada, between the UAE national team and all-stars from the prestigious NHL (National Hockey League).

The collective professional success of Rush, Reid and Watson, at club and international levels, needs no introduction. Such was Ian Rush’s goal-scoring exploits during his two stints at Liverpool in the 1980’s and early 1990’s that his name can still be heard chanted from the Anfield stands today. Rush remains Liverpool's all-time scoring king, the Welshman having scored 346 goals in 660 senior matches for the Reds.

Rush is a five-time League Champion, a European Cup winner and the recipient of the European Golden Boot Award, with 32 League goals in the 1984 season. He was also a double Footballer of the Year and captained the Welsh national side for which he scored a record 28 goals in 73 games.

Many will remember Peter Reid’s playing career as a tough, no-nonsense midfielder with a capacity for overcoming the odds - a reputation he clearly transferred into football management taking Manchester City to fifth in the league in his first of two years at the club. As a player, Reid won every domestic trophy on offer with Everton, and also tasted European success in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1985 while also being voted the PFA player of the year in the same year.

Dave Watson’s career started with his boyhood heroes Liverpool but, without a senior-level outing for the Reds, eventually proved himself at Norwich City before being returning to Merseyside in August 1986 – displacing his old club Liverpool as champions with winning the league.

The Merseyside football legends will be guests in the Pearl Zone on Etihad Airways’ luxury appointed A330-200 from London to Abu Dhabi, arriving on Wednesday 8th March.

Fans will be able to meet Rush, Reid and Watson at the NRG Sports Café at Le Meridien, Abu Dhabi at 18.15 that night. The ex-players will then be guest speakers at a special dinner at The Club, in Abu Dhabi.

About Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is the world’s fastest growing airline and will now offer flights for Guests and cargo to 27 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Etihad Crystal Cargo – – operates to many all-cargo destinations and provides worldwide charters with a fleet of modern Airbus A300-600 freighter aircraft.

Etihad Holidays - - offers a range of innovative holiday options to 69 destinations across 23 countries. Packages include skiing, fly-drives, cruises and tours.

Through these exciting divisions, Etihad Airways is changing the way people see the world.

For more information about this award-winning aviation group, please visit

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