David Moyes has declared himself ready to meet the challenge of following the most successful manager English football has ever known.
The Scot comes with the support of the man who has just spent almost 27 years in the United hotseat and will remain on the United board to offer advice.
Just as outgoing chief executive David Gill had claimed it was a "dream job", so Moyes, far from viewing it as the poisoned chalice some have claimed, feels it represents an opportunity he simply could not turn down.
"I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn't something that comes around very often," he said. "I am really looking forward to taking up the post next season."
The official statement underlined why Moyes has been chosen in preference to the other front-runner, Jose Mourinho.
In giving the 50-year-old a six-year contract, twice as long as Mourinho has spent in any job, United have shown their desire to hire someone willing to immerse themselves in every facet of the club, just as Ferguson has done throughout his unparalleled tenure.
"It is a great honour to be asked to be the next manager of Manchester United," said Moyes. "I am delighted Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done."
Out of contract in the summer, Moyes travelled to London on Wednesday and informed Everton chairman Bill Kenwright of United's interest.
Such is the esteem in which Moyes is held that, like Ferguson, he will see out the season with his present club, bidding a personal farewell at Goodison Park for the final time after Sunday's encounter with West Ham, an hour before his predecessor says goodbye to Old Trafford.
"I had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors and a great set of players," said Moyes. "Everton's fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable. I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players.