COLIN Daley’s support for Manchester United, against his colleagues’ advice, was famous and teasingly deplored at Thamesdown Transport.

Yet his friends and fellow bus drivers will forgive his ‘misguided’ affections as they pay tribute to the late Westlea man at a memorial football match next month.

Colin, 69, died on February 12 at Prospect Hospice following an eight-year battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His friends will emulate his love of the sport at a friendly game against their Stagecoach rivals at St Joseph’s Catholic College on March 2.

Chris Pearson, 33, an organiser, recalled Colin’s cheerful personality which earned him fast friends among Thamesdown drivers.

“He was bubbly, outgoing, football-mad and very popular. He was easy to get on with,” he said.

“He was a keen Man United fan and was always going on about football. We had this game pencilled in so, when we heard the news on Wednesday, we thought it a fitting tribute to him.

“This is the least we can do to show support to his family. We hope to make this an annual event in his memory.”

The players will observe a minute of silence and wear black armbands during the match.

Although prepared for the worst as his condition worsened over the years, news of his death came as a shock to everyone.

“I used to work with Colin on the buses when I first started in 1997,” said former colleague Phillip Manning, 35.

“We knew he was ill for a long time and that inevitably it was going to happen but when the text message came through it was a bit of a shock.

“He was a great bloke, really nice and always a laugh. He always enjoyed himself and got on well with everybody.

“He was not supporting the right football team but we will forgive that.”

In a statement Colin’s wife Marlene, children and grandchildren spoke of his passing.

“He has left a huge void,” they said. “We are extremely proud to have had him in our lives. Along with his family, his other passion was football and he would be absolutely thrilled that the guys have arranged this football match in his memory.

“We will be honoured to stand on the touchline as a family.”

His grandson Kyle, 19, added: “He was an inspiration and there for me whenever. He taught me most of the things I know.”

Each team will compete to win the Colin Daley memorial plaque which they will get to display for a year until the next rematch.

Thamesdown Transport will sponsor 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 fit way to remember him.”