FRIENDS of a popular Manchester United stall holder have been paying tribute to the man they said had a heart of gold and was an ‘encyclopaedia of United knowledge’.

Graham Oxley was killed in a car crash on Monday night in Runcorn as he was travelling to a friend’s house to watch on TV his side take on Liverpool in the final of a friendly competition in Miami.

The 53-year-old, known as Ox, travelled all over the world following United but was best known as an Old Trafford ‘grafter’ selling scarves, badges and hats from the same spot outside the ground every home game.

Dave Caulfield, who had known Graham for more than 35 years, said: “He was a lovely fella and I couldn’t believe it when I found out.

“He sold merchandise outside the ground all his life after he finished school and never missed a game home or away.

“United was his life and if you asked him about a game he could tell you the goal scorers and the time they scored.

“Once the funeral is arranged there’s going to be a massive turn out with reds everywhere.

“He was a fantastic person and it’s such sad news.”

Graham, originally from Astley Close off Chester Road, also loved playing football and played in the Warrington Sunday District Football league when he was younger.

He had never married and had no children.

Tributes on our Facebook page called him a ‘true gent’.

Dan Fisher added: “One of the bestest mates you could've have asked for. RIP Ox god bless” while Annie Bolton commented: “Have known him all my life, grew up with him, he was a kind considerate person, who will be very sadly missed by so many people.”

Police are appealing for witnesses after Graham’s Ford Focus was hit by a HGV near the roundabout with Blackheath Lane on the Daresbury Expressway just after 11pm on Monday night.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident 1047 of August 4 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.