News, views and rumours relating to Manchester United in the past 24 hours.
Following the announcement by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he will retire at the end of the season, the club have announced that Everton manager David Moyes will be appointed as Ferguson’s replacement.
David Moyes officially quit as Everton boss ahead of signing a six-year contract with Manchester United. He expressed his ‘delight’ to have been recommended by for the job by Ferguson and thanked the Everton chairman, directors, players and fans for their ‘support’.
“It's a great honour to be asked to be the next manager of Manchester United. I am delighted that Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club,” stated Moyes.
"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.”
"I have had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors and a great set of players. Between now and the end of the season, I will do everything in my power to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table,” he added.
"Everton's fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable and I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players. Everton will be close to me for the rest of my life."
Whilst Moyes’ appointment as Ferguson’s successor was no secret yesterday, the official announcement by the club was not made until today, despite the fact that the Red Devils’ press office ‘jumped the gun’ by asking fans to submit personal messages to the incoming manager on Facebook before the club had officially unveiled him as their new manager.
The Sun questions the reasoning behind Ferguson’s ‘U-turn’ on his future and implies concerns over the 71-year-old’s health could have played a major part in his decision to retire.
United legend David Beckham has described Ferguson as a ‘father figure’ following the news of his intended retirement.
"I am truly honoured to have been guided by the greatest manager in football and to have had the career that I had under him," said Beckham.
"Without him, I would never have achieved what I have done."
"I have said many times before the boss wasn't just the greatest and best manager I ever played under, he was also a father figure to me from the moment I arrived at the club at the age of 11 until the day I left," he added.
United legend and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville described Moyes’ appointment as a ‘victory for sanity’ and the right appointment for the club to make going forward.
“I speak in three different guises,” Neville told Sky Sports News.
“As a fan I’m sad and gutted for the club because it’s a day no Manchester United fan ever wanted to come. As a player who played for him I’m grateful and feel privileged to have worked with the greatest manager of all time.”
“Manchester United is a massive football club. It moved on from the Munich air disaster, it moved on from Sir Matt Busby, it will move on from Sir Alex Ferguson,” he added.
“People say how will the new manager be able to replace him? It’s simple: play attractive football, bring young players through and win a championship. Then the fans and club will support them.’
In transfer news, rumours have emerged that Wayne Rooney has ‘asked to leave’ United.
However, the club have released a statement via an official spokesman insisting:
"Wayne Rooney is not for sale."
The BBC asserts that Rooney’s career is ‘at a crossroads’ and that he is unhappy watching from the substitute’s bench.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reports that Rooney could be tempted to join Chelsea by the lure of playing alongside his ‘best friend in football’ and England teammate Ashley Cole who he has said he would ‘take a bullet’ for in a previous interview with Piers Morgan.
Elsewhere, The Daily Mail claims United chief executive David Gill has travelled to Madrid to meet with Jorge Mendes, the agent of Cristiano Ronaldo in order to negotiate a ‘sensation’ return to Old Trafford for the Real Madrid superstar.
In other related news, Manchester United’s shares have fallen on the New York stock exchange following the announcement of Ferguson’s retirement. The US markets have reported a 4.5% fall in the club’s shares when trading opened following the news.
"Any successor to our current manager may not be as successful as our current manager," traders reportedly warned.
image: © Paolo Camera