Outgoing Everton manager David Moyes said he was disappointed to be leaving a "great club" but admitted there was no way he could turn down the opportunity to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
In an emotional press conference, his first since confirmation on Thursday he would be leaving Goodison Park after 11 years, it was clear how much Everton means to Moyes, who said: "I'm disappointed to be leaving such a great club. The club has been such a great part of my life."
But when asked if he had considered turning down United's approach, Moyes said simply: "I have to be honest and say no."
The huge numbers of media present underlined the interest in Moyes replacing Ferguson.
Moyes greeted those present with a wisecrack: "Have you nothing to do today?", before confirming he wished to talk solely about Everton, which he did with an acute sense of pride.
"It has been very difficult," he added. "I have great respect for the chairman and have a great relationship with him. He is a really good guy. We had a difficult meeting on Wednesday but he totally understood."
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 Toffees 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."