Manchester United moved swiftly on the recommendation of Alex Ferguson to find the retiring manager’s successor.
Everton’s David Moyes was named yesterday to replace Ferguson. The 50-year-old signed a six-year contract to take up the role July 1, the Premier League soccer champion said.
The hiring came after Ferguson, who’s calling time on his career after a 26-year United reign of unparalleled success, recommended his fellow Scot. Moyes’s recruitment was then unanimously approved by United’s board and announced about 30 hours after news of Ferguson’s retirement broke.
“The search for a new manager has been very short,” United Co-Chairman Avie Glazer said in a club statement. “Alex was very clear with his recommendation and we are delighted that David has agreed to accept the job.”
Moyes has achieved regular top-half finishes in the league in his 11 years at Everton. But the chance to replace Ferguson, who won 38 trophies during his time at Old Trafford, takes his career to another level and was one he couldn’t pass on.
“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 and I’m really looking forward to taking up the post next season,” Moyes said in the United statement.
Ferguson, 71, will step down as British soccer’s most successful manager after United’s final game against West Brom on May 19. He won 13 of the club’s record 20 English championships, along with two European Cups, and now turns things over a man he tried to recruit as an assistant in 1998.
“He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton,” Ferguson said. “There is no question he has all the qualities we expect as a manager at this club.”
Moyes’s contract with Everton expires after the season and he hadn’t signed an extension. He met with club Chairman Bill Kenwright two days ago to express his interest in the United job, Everton said in a statement on its website.
“He’s been a great manager and Manchester United are very lucky,” Kenwright said yesterday in an interview with Sky Sports. “We couldn’t stand in his way because he is out of contract. It was his decision and he’s made it.”
Although Moyes didn’t win any trophies with Everton, the club lacked the financial resources of Manchester City, Chelsea and United, which are owned by billionaires. Everton hasn’t finished outside the top eight in the 20-team division since 2006.
‘Energy and Commitment’
The Toffees qualified for the Champions League in 2005 and reached the 2009 F.A. Cup final, where they lost to Chelsea. The team’s last trophy was the 1995 F.A. Cup.
As well as sharing Glaswegian roots, Moyes and Ferguson are both record three-time winners of the League Managers Association Manager of the Year award, which is voted by coaches in England’s four professional soccer leagues.
“I have no doubt that he will bring an energy and commitment to deliver winning football that is part of the fabric of this club,” United Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said. “In this respect, he is cut from the same cloth as the Old Trafford greats who go before him.”
Everton is sixth in the Premier League with two games left, six points behind fifth-place Tottenham, though five ahead of Merseyside rival Liverpool. Moyes will be in charge for the team’s last two matches, against West Ham on May 12 and Chelsea seven days later.
“He has been a significant manager for 11 years and I know that Evertonians will look upon David Moyes with gratitude and admiration,” Kenwright told Sky Sports. “We’ll be with him for the next two games and not for two games next season, I can promise you that.”
Everton said it will immediately begin the search for his successor. Celtic manager Neil Lennon is the 13-8 favorite with bookmaker Coral, followed by Wigan coach Roberto Martinez at 5-2.
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