LIVERPOOL, England, May 10 – Outgoing Everton manager David Moyes said Friday he had not planned on leaving the Merseyside outfit until Manchester United came calling after Alex Ferguson announced his retirement.
“I wasn’t planning to leave Everton,” Moyes told reporters at a news conference ostensibly to discuss a weekend date with West Ham United but which inevitably touched on his impending switch after 11 years in charge at Goodison Park.
Describing Everton as a great club, Moyes offered to help in the search for a successor, which will not be Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup, who earlier ruled out a switch.
“I’ll help out as as much as I possibly can. Whoever comes in is coming into a really brilliant environment,” said Moyes, who said he had not hesitated when the United offer came.
“I have to be honest and say no,” he said when asked if he had any qualms about accepting.
“It’s a well-run club. I think whoever gets it is going to come in and have a great opportunity,” added Moyes, who added his own predecessor Walter Smith “made the job easy for me” with advice at the outset.
Thanking Everton fans for their support during a tenure which has seen the Toffees regularly compete for a top-six finish, Moyes urged reporters to keep their questions to Sunday’s game rather than his own future.
“This press conference today is about Everton. We’ve gone about training in the normal way today and just got on with it,” said Moyes, who admitted it had been difficult to inform chairman Bill Kenwright he was moving on.
“It was very difficult because I’ve great respect for the chairman – he’s been great to me. It was a difficult meeting (but) he totally understood,” Moyes stressed, adding that until United came calling this week he had been entirely focused on planning for next season with the Toffees.