Virgin sponsors FA Cup rematch

Virgin Atlantic has been appointed the official sponsor of The 1990 FA Cup re-match between Crystal Palace and Manchester UnitedThis takes place at Selhurst Park Stadium on the 6 April 2006, with a kick-off time of 19:45.

The charity match is former Crystal Palace captain, Geoff Thomas’ testimonial and will be a re-enactment of the famous 1990 FA Cup final with the original players and managers taking part. 

Steve Coppell will lead out Crystal Palace with the legendary line-up including Geoff Thomas, Ian Wright, Mark Bright, and Nigel Martyn.  Sir Alex Ferguson will lead out the former Manchester United team which includes nineties favourites - Bryan Robson, Brian McClair, Mark Hughes and Gary Pallister.

Virgin Atlantic was the sponsor of Crystal Palace at the time of the original match. 

The re-match is in aid of Leukaemia charities, which helped to save former England and Crystal Palace footballer, Geoff Thomas’ life when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia three and a half years ago. 


The match is in partnership with hosts, Crystal Palace Football Club, who have given Geoff Thomas their support for his appeal. 

Welcoming the announcement, Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, said:

“Virgin Atlantic and Crystal Palace enjoyed a close relationship in the 1990s with our sponsorship tie up and we are delighted to be able to support the re-enactment of this important and historic match for such a worthwhile cause.”

“The match promises to be a great opportunity to see the football stars of the 1990s and I’m sure that everyone will enjoy re-living the biggest game in Crystal Palace’s history whilst helping to raise as much money as possible to support Geoff Thomas’ leukaemia appeal.”

Geoff Thomas commented:

“Virgin Atlantic’s support of this game is fantastic and is a huge boost to the game.  The sponsorship will really help leukaemia sufferers who are not as fortunate as me.”

“I’m really thrilled to have had such great support from both clubs and so many famous individuals.  Even 16 years on, I’m sure the match will be fiercely competitive with the likes of Mark Hughes, Ian Wright and Bryan Robson taking part.  It’s my ambition to sell out Selhurst Park and raise money for those people I have met still battling with this terrible disease.”

Phil Alexander, Chief Executive of Crystal Palace FC, said:

“Crystal Palace is delighted to be able to stage such a great event and we are hoping to help Geoff raise thousands of pounds for such a worthy cause.  Virgin Atlantic has such a strong historic link with the club and we are thankful for their continued support.  We are looking forward to a fantastic evening.”

Geoff has been inspired by Lance Armstrong and has already raised over £170,000 by completing the 2,200 mile Tour de France last summer.  He next plans to compete in the Race Across America (RAAM) - the world’s toughest endurance cycling race in June of this year.  Geoff’s four-man team will ride night and day through 14 US states to reach Atlantic City in less than 10 days.