BUS companies Stagecoach and Thamesdown Transport took their rivalry onto the astroturf yesterday in memory of much loved colleague, Colin Daley.

The 69-year-old from Westlea, who died earlier this month at Prospect Hospice following an eight-year battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was a passionate supporter of Manchester United – much to the chagrin of his Thamesdown Transport colleagues.

His love of the sport prompted friends and colleagues to turn an organised fixture into a tribute match, where the teams competed for a memorial plaque.

Thamesdown player Chris Pearson, 33, who helped to organise the match, said: “The match with Stagecoach was already fixed and when he heard what had happened we decided it would be a good thing to make it a tribute to him. It was the least we could do to show support to his family. “We hope to make it an annual event in his memory.”

Duane Maslen, who organised the match on the Stagecoach side, said: “Colin was a big United fan – somebody has to support them I suppose – and this match was a fitting tribute to him.

“I also got the plaque made so there was something to win, and hopefully we’ll make it an annual fixture.”

The showdown at St Joseph’s Catholic College followed a two minute silence in memory of Colin.

His former colleagues ultimately won a thriller, 5-4, and Thamesdown will now hold the Colin Daley memorial Plaque until the next fixture.

Colin’s widow, Marlene, 67, felt that the match was a fitting tribute to a man so passionate about the beautiful game.

She said: “I think it’s awesome, it’s a brilliant way to remember him.

“Colin would have been so proud of the team and he would have absolutely loved to have been there.

“Football was his passion, he loved it his whole life.

“I just want to say a great big thank you to Thamesdown and to Stagecoach for putting this on in his memory and for all their support.”

During the match there was also a collection which was donated to Prospect Hospice, and Thamesdown Transport sponsored the team’s kit.

The firm’s acting operations manager, Dave Jones, said: “Colin was a popular colleague who got on with everyone, and the plan for the annual match is a fitting way to remember him.”