Wednesday 16 October 2019

United too big to turn down, Moyes admits after "whirlwind" week

Simon Stone

After emerging from the whirlwind that engulfed him this week, David Moyes has admitted the prospect of joining Manchester United was too big to turn down.

Rather than shy away from the glare of publicity following confirmation he will leave Everton for Old Trafford at the beginning of July, Moyes elected to face it head on.

That he did so with such dignity and humility says much about the character of the 50-year-old Scot, who will shortly be catapulted into the most high-pressured sporting situation of all.

Every word was delivered with the raw emotion of a man preparing to leave behind a place he loves.

But he does so without an ounce of regret, for the chance of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson was simply not something he could refuse.

"Things have developed very quickly," said Moyes.

"It was a whirlwind and it would be completely wrong to say it was done a month ago.

"Everton Football Club is such an important thing for me. But as for turning the job down. if I am being honest, I have to say no."

It means 11 years after moving onto Merseyside from Preston, Sunday's Premier League encounter with West Ham will be Moyes' last as Toffees boss at Goodison Park.

Given the circumstances, Moyes did offer to stand aside, even though he did not want to.

Chairman Bill Kenwright would have none of it.

So he will take up his position in the home technical area for the final time, proud of the work he has done at 'The People's Club' as he dubbed Everton on his very first day in the job.

"If ever there was a true statement, it was that one," said Moyes.

"People thought I must have sat up all night thinking of it. But it was nothing like that.

"It was from the heart.

"The 11 years have not disappointed. Everton will always be very close to me."

Though his contract was due to expire in the summer, Moyes revealed he had been making plans for the new campaign when the call from United came earlier this week.

It did not take long for the Glaswegian to work out what he had to do.

So, on Wednesday, he took a trip down to London to see Kenwright and tell him in person their professional association, but not their friendship, was at an end.

"There were no tears," said Moyes.

"It was a man-to-man conversation.

"I explained the situation to Bill and he fully understood.

"I hope he will always be a friend of mine, so I didn't feel I was saying goodbye to him. I was saying goodbye to his club.

"It was tough because he has been such a guide to me. He gave me the job and I have great respect for him.

"He's always been supportive and tried to give me everything he can.

"If there was surprise it was because all the preparations were ready.

"My contract was running out but if you'd have pushed me I'd have said my mind was swaying on staying at Everton.

"But Bill totally understood and knew where things were going."

Moyes leaves Goodison Park with a sense of regret at not being able to claim the silverware he craved.

The nearest he managed was the 2009 FA Cup final, when the Toffeemen were beaten by Chelsea.

Yet, as he pointed out, Everton had only collected one cup in the decade prior to his arrival, so that empty trophy cabinet is not something he should be condemned for, even if those United fans not entirely comfortable with Ferguson's replacement have been quick to point it out.

Instead, Moyes prefers to focus on how his own approach to the job has developed.

"I might have got mellower, although you could argue that is a bad thing," he said.

"When you are young, you are intense.

"I have not lost the intensity but maybe I use it in the right way.

"The experience and comfort which I have felt in my job, because I had good players and a stable board, has helped me mature and develop.

"But I hope I have not lost the inner devilment which I think I still have within me."

PA Media

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