• Premier League

Moyes: Ferguson retirement a shock

ESPN staff
May 10, 2013
David Moyes admits the news of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement came as a shock to him © AP

David Moyes has hailed Sir Alex Ferguson as an inspiration as he prepares to replace the retiring Manchester United manager.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Everton boss Moyes will leave Goodison Park at the end of the season to take over at Old Trafford.

Ferguson, 71, is stepping down this summer after 26-and-a-half years in charge at United, and picked out Moyes to succeed him.

The 50-year-old will remain in place for Everton's final two games of the Premier League season; at home to West Ham on Sunday and away to Chelsea on May 19.

Moyes declined to discuss the United job directly at a press conference on Friday, preferring to focus on the task of preparing for the visit of the Hammers.

But he did admit that news of Ferguson's retirement, confirmed on Wednesday morning, came as a shock to him. He said: "It's a strange thing. I don't think anybody ever thought that the day would come when Alex Ferguson retired. I think we all thought he was superhuman.

"I said last week in a press conference that he was a great example to everybody in their 70s, in terms of how you work.

"Life's changing. We're all living longer; we're all working longer; eating healthier; doing all the things you would hope would give you a much longer life.

"And I didn't know anything, just the same as you people. He will be sorely missed. He will be sorely missed by a lot of the managers in football, because he would always speak to them; he always had a quiet word for anybody who was out of work or going into a job.

"I know how much he's respected and I'm sure you do. The respect for him is beyond any words."

Moyes, like Ferguson, grew up in Glasgow, and admitted that he looked up to the retiring United manager from an early age.

He said: "We're probably from slightly different eras as age groups go. But I grew up looking at Jock Stein, Sir Alex Ferguson. They were the managers I looked at when I was in Scotland growing up.

"He's always been someone I admired. And as the years have gone by, he's someone I started to compete against, which was big enough and daunting enough.

"Everybody's got great admiration for him, and any words I say wouldn't do him justice because of what the man's done."

Moyes' future has been the subject of speculation for much of the season, having held off signing a new Everton contract even though his current deal was set to expire at the end of June.

But he insisted that the opportunity to manage at Old Trafford came as a complete surprise to him.

He added: "Things developed very quickly. I explained to the [Everton] players that it's just come around. It certainly wasn't the case, as some people are saying, that this was done a month ago or whenever it was. That's completely wrong.

"I told the players what I knew and asked them to make sure that we win the last two games, and let's be as professional as we can be."

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