Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has hailed David Moyes following the news that the Scot will become the next Manchester United manager.
Moyes will leave Goodison Park after 11 years in charge to take over from Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in July and Kenwright has wished the 50-year-old well, while admitting he had harboured hope of keeping the Scot on Merseyside.
Kenwright told Sky Sports: “He’s a great manager and Manchester United are very lucky. Let’s be honest, we couldn’t stand in his way because he is out of contract. It was his decision and he’s made it.
“We’ve had a really good 11 years and it’s my job and the club’s job to get a worthy successor and build on what David has quite definitely brought to the football club and move on from there.
“It’s important now that we finish off the season against West Ham and Chelsea and we maintain our position and that Everton Football Club continues in the David Moyes tradition and the Everton Football Club tradition .
“I’m pretty convinced that Evertonians will only have gratitude and admiration and will be with him for the next two games and not for two games next season, I can promise you that!”
Kenwright insisted his focus would quickly switch to finding Moyes’ successor but warned that the process could take some time, with the club keen to find the best replacement possible.
“We really will be out there finding the right man for this football club,” he added. “Because you know it is an extraordinary football club, like all football clubs that is worshipped by its fans, they are the people more than anything that I’ve been thinking of over the last 24 hours.
“Eleven years ago, I made a decision and it was an instant decision after I met David. That’s not going to happen this time, I’ve got to be very serious and we are looking for what kind of candidate is out there that can take the club forward.
“It’s been a year now since David and I sat down and we went through this season and next season, we’ve been planning for next season until very recently so he’s been my manager and I seriously hoped and thought he would be the manager next season.
“I won’t lie to you and say there’s no-one in my head and there’s no-one in the club’s head and there’s no-one in the club’s supporters’ heads.
“They’re no fools, Everton supporters, they took to David Moyes instantly, the night he arrived. I’ll be looking to those supporters to get the kind of guidance that true football fans can give to a chairman and a football club.
“We can’t individually poll each of them but it is important that they get the right man and the football club gets the right man.
“They know the adventure they’ve had for 11 years and they want it to continue and continue to grow and I think that’s vital for them, it’s a very important part of my life to see a moment like that.”