Date: 10th December 2008 at 9:23am
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…and that’s “winging in,” in a literal sense with Abu Dhabi flag carrying airline Etihad Airways alledgedly poised to become City’s new shirt sponsor once City’s long association with Thomas Cook ends next summer.

Vital MC has been nudged on and off over past weeks with stories of City’s Chief Executive Garry ‘Gazzer’ Cook alledgedly chairing discussions with big name kit manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and Puma for the right to replace Le Coq Sportif in readiness for the 2009-2010 season.

Rumours persist that the Club Badge is about to be modified in line with this change, seeing a return to a more instantly recognisable Manchester/ Lancashire crest. We’re pretty sure that the majority of Blues would applaud that initiative.

As for the Etihad Airways story, they kicked off operations in 2003, established as the United Arab Emirates national airline by the royal decree of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE.

He’s Sheikh ‘Mancity’ Mansour’s brother.

In its first 4 years, Etihad doubled in size every 6 months, and has done so every year since. International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics indicate that in 2007 Etihad ranked among the Top 10 airlines in the world in terms of growth.

Etihad are no stranger to English sport. They are Chelski’s official airline partner and the main sponsor of Harlequins Rugby League Club.