A FOOTBALLER from Oxford has died after collapsing on the pitch during a veterans game in Abingdon.

The match between Oxford University Press and Watlington Town FC was abandoned after one of the players – named locally as Wayne St Clair – collapsed during the second half on Wednesday night.

A number of players, trained in first aid, rushed to his side and the air ambulance was called to Abingdon Town’s Culham Road ground – where OUP play their home games.

It is understood the player died at the John Radcliffe Hospital at about 4.30am on Thursday morning.

Friends paid tribute yesterday to the avid footballer, who has also played for Bullnose Morris and Oxford Supporters as well as OUP.

Former business partner of Mr St Clair at InStudio Records, Shaun Michael, posted on social media: “Wayne was an excellent and talented singer and songwriter and business partner.

“I’m shocked and saddened, I almost can’t believe what I’ve just heard. That was my number one.”

Michael Truby said: “I’m shocked and gutted to hear the news – he was the nicest guy you’d meet.”

Another friend, Andy Beechers, said: “A good friend taken too soon, always had a smile on your face mate RIP.”

The referee for the Hellenic League Veterans Premier Division game, Gordon Varley, said he initially saw the player on one knee 23 minutes into the second half.

He said: “A free kick was awarded and there was a sending off of a player, I then paced out the 10-yard zone for the defence to withdraw and I then continued towards the man as he was on one knee.

“I asked if he was ready to start. He raised himself up and as he did so he fell back to his kneeling position.

“His teammates came to his aid and shortly after paramedics, ambulance and the fire service were all on site – followed by the air ambulance.”

A ‘lengthy’ resuscitation process then followed before he was taken to hospital by land ambulance.

Mr Varley added: “Despite the best efforts of the staff I was sadly informed that he passed away at approximately 4.30 am.”

League chairman, Robert Dalling, said he was ‘very sad’ about the incident.

South Central Ambulance Service confirmed it was called shortly after 9pm and sent an ambulance crew and an air ambulance, with paramedics treating Mr St Clair at the scene.