Belfast Telegraph

David Moyes 'did not expect' approach from Manchester United

By Simon Rice

David Moyes has revealed that he expected to be at Everton next season and denied talk that a deal had been agreed with Manchester United weeks ago.

Speaking to the press for the first time since his appointment was confirmed, the Everton manager also spoke of his disappointment to be leaving Goodison Park.

In what was an emotional press conference, it was clear how much the Toffees meant to Moyes, who has been at the club for over 11 years.

"I'm disappointed to be leaving such a great club," he said.

"The club has been such a great part of my life."

But when asked if he had considered turning down United's approach to be Sir Alex Ferguson's successor, Moyes said simply: "I have to be honest and say no."

There were huge numbers of people from the media present for the press conference, despite Everton issuing a statement earlier today saying their manager would only be talking about matters concerning his current club. The Toffees play West Ham on Saturday in what will be Moyes' last game at Goodison Park.

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 said.

"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."

Despite Moyes' refusal to discuss a new contract at Everton before the end of the season, the Scot rejected claims it was because he was expecting an approach from Manchester United or that a deal had been agreed weeks ago.

"I wasn't planning to leave," he said.

"My contract was running out but if you had pushed me, I would have said I would stay.

"Everything is in place for next season, pre-season has been arranged and the chairman knew what I wanted to do."

Only once did Moyes speak specifically about the man he is about to replace, underlining what a loss Ferguson is going to be to the British game.

"I don't think anybody thought the day would come when Sir Alex Ferguson retired," said Moyes.

"We all thought he was superhuman.

"He is an example to anyone in their 70s.

"The respect for him within the game is beyond any words I can use.

"We are from different eras. I grew up looking at Jock Stein and Sir Alex Ferguson.

"First I admired him and then, as the years have gone by, I have competed against him.

"I cannot say anything that would do justice to what he has done."

Moyes has Ferguson's personal backing, though.

And it is clear his passion and fierce determination are very similar to the man he is about to replace.

"I have not lost the intensity I had when I was younger but maybe I use it in the right way," said Moyes.

"I certainly hope I have not lost the inner devilment you need."

Moyes said he would understand if some Everton fans were upset at the manner of his departure.

However, he wants to see the job through, and intends to stand in exactly the same place in his dug-out on Sunday for the encounter with West Ham, even if he insists he is not saying goodbye.

"Maybe the hardest part on Sunday will be at the end of the game, but I will be coming back to Goodison Park," he said.

"I will not be away long.

"Hopefully on Sunday the fans will react in the same way they did when I first walked through the door.

"You can never tell with football fans. They support their team and I would understand it if they weren't happy.

"But I will be standing in the same position as I always have done, trying to see if we can take this outside chance of getting into Europe."

Moyes also confirmed Kenwright had asked his advice over a successor, although he opted against discussing the merits of current favourite Neil Lennon.

"This is a great football club," he said.

"When I first came here I called it the 'People's Club'. If ever a statement was true, it was that one.

"It will always be very close to me.

"Whoever comes in will be coming to a really good environment."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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