LONDON, England, May 9- Everton confirmed on Thursday that manager David Moyes will leave the club at the end of the season, paving the way for him to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
“The Manager met Chairman Bill Kenwright early yesterday evening (Wednesday) and confirmed his desire to join Manchester United,” a statement on Everton’s website stated.
“The Chairman, on behalf of the Club, would like to place on record his thanks to David for the massive contribution he has made to Everton since his arrival in March 2002. He has been an outstanding Manager.
“During his tenure at Goodison Park, David has taken charge of the team on over 500 occasions including four European campaigns.
“His final two games as Everton Manager will be the remaining Premier League matches against West Ham United and Chelsea.
“Everton officials will start the search for a replacement manager immediately,” it concluded.
Ferguson sent shockwaves through world football on Wednesday when he announced that he was stepping down after a record-breaking 26-year spell in the Old Trafford hot seat that saw him win 38 trophies.
Moyes was immediately installed as the British bookmakers’ favourite to succeed his fellow Scot and he met with Everton chairman Kenwright later that day to discuss the terms of his departure from Goodison Park.
Moyes is expected to officially take over from Ferguson after his Everton contract expires on June 30.
He leaves Everton having never won a trophy since taking over in 2002. But he stabilised the club and in more than a decade Everton finished outside the top 10 twice, qualified for the Champions League once, and reached an FA Cup final.
United prematurely welcomed him as their new manager on their Facebook site and then took the link down again.
Moyes went through the formalities of his departure at the club’s Finch Farm training base on Thursday morning, having returned from Merseyside after watching Chelsea draw 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez was installed as the favourite to succeed Moyes at Everton, but the Spaniard said he had received no contact from the club and was only thinking about his side’s FA Cup final encounter with Manchester City on Saturday.
News of Moyes’ departure from Everton followed media reports that United striker Wayne Rooney, who began his career under Moyes at Goodison Park, has asked to leave Old Trafford for the second time.
However, United dismissed the idea, with a spokesman saying: “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”
Rooney was handed his Everton debut by Moyes in 2002 and joined United two years later in a £27 million ($42 million, 31.9 million euros) transfer that made him the world’s most expensive teenage player.
The England striker’s position at United has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after he was left on the bench for a vital Champions League knockout game at home to Real Madrid.
He previously submitted a transfer request at 2010, only to change his mind and sign a new five-year contract.
In succeeding Ferguson, widely regarded as one of football’s greatest ever managers, Moyes would face an unenviable task, but outgoing United chief executive David Gill believes the role represents a unique opportunity.
“It is a dream job,” Gill told United’s in-house television channel, MUTV.
“The new manager will inherit a great squad and infrastructure off the pitch, with a great staff.
“He will be walking into a difficult situation in terms of the number of trophies, but the positive of also having the support of the Manchester United family.”