ManU confirmed Thursday that Everton Manager David Moyes will be its new manager, and emphasized that "this was on the recommendation of" of outgoing Manager Alex Ferguson, according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. Moyes has "signed a six-year contract and will begin work at Old Trafford on July 1." After a day when the media and football world were waiting for confirmation of Moyes’ appointment, the news "finally came in the late afternoon with a statement" on the ManU website. It read: "Manchester United Board unanimously approves the recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson." Ferguson said: "David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of Assistant Manager here" (LONDON TIMES, 5/9). In London, Roger Blitz reported Moyes, 50, spoke of the “great honour” of being asked to become its manager, and his respect for the achievements of Ferguson. 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." The length of contract "is unusually long in top-flight football," but ManU "will hope that it eases some of the pressure on the new manager to provide instant results at a club expecting continuing success" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/9). REUTERS' Herman & Oxley reported Everton had earlier confirmed that Moyes "would be leaving," saying the Scot had told Chair Bill Kenwright that "he wanted to join" ManU. In a statement, Everton said, "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" (REUTERS, 5/9).
EVERTON REACTION: In Liverpool, Peter Guy reported "celebrities, players, pundits and stars across the media reacted to the news" that Moyes was to take over at ManU. Everton club captain Phil Jagielka said: "Like the rest of the squad I have nothing but the highest regard for David Moyes. He is a first class operator." Match of the Day host Gary Lineker said, "I think Moyes is a very sound choice and probably the least disruptive. A huge challenge though, and a very different job." Footballer Joey Barton, of Everton, said, "Everton would have been scrapping away near the foot of the table for last 11 years, had it not been for Moyes. He's done a great job" (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 5/9). In London, Tony Barret wrote Everton believe their "financial stability will allow them to repel any offers" ManU might make to acquire its star Belgium midfielder Leighton Baines, despite the club "not securing a pact" with Moyes to prevent him "from trying to sign his former players" (LONDON TIMES, 5/10).
SOCIAL MEDIA SNAFU: In London, Nick Pearce reported ManU's social media department "published a page on Facebook inviting fans to welcome the Everton manager to the Old Trafford family" prior to the official announcement. The "bungling social media" staff "potentially ruined the big reveal" by posting the page, which includes a field for visitors to send a welcome message to Moyes for all to see. The form sits under a red and white banner emblazoned with the Twitter hashtag "#UnitedContinued" and the invitation to "send your personal message of welcome to new manager David Moyes" (TELEGRAPH, 5/9).
ASIA THANKS FERGUSON: In Jakarta, Talek Harris reported Asian fans from Singapore to Shanghai praised Ferguson’s role in "bringing Premier League football to the region’s masses." As the club’s millions of Asian fans absorbed the news, splashed on front and back pages across the continent, they "applauded Ferguson’s regular visits and his signings of Park Ji-Sung and Shinji Kagawa." ManU's official Malaysia supporters club Secretary Laurence How said, "Whatever else he has done, he has brought football to Asia, to the people, because not many people can afford to go to Old Trafford." Supporters club General Secretary David Fan said, "Most of the fans are devastated" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 5/9).
ONE HOT TICKET: In London, John Drayton reported tickets for Ferguson’s last match at ManU "are selling" for almost £3,000 ($4,650). Fans of ManU's opponent, West Brom, "are cashing in." Seats "have poured" onto online marketplace Viagogo ever since Ferguson announced his retirement, and are now selling for anywhere between £170 ($263) to £2,500 ($3,875) (DAILY MAIL, 5/9). Also in London, Jamie Jackson wrote the club has not had time "to make any special plans" for Ferguson's final home game on Sunday against Swansea City. Members of the Glazer family, including Owners Joel and Avie, "will fly over" for the match, but there are no moves "to invite former United legends or dignitaries" or for Swansea "to form a guard of honor" for the retiring manager. After the match, Ferguson will make a speech to the sell-out crowd that promises to be "a tearful experience for the 71-year-old and many inside the stadium" (GUARDIAN, 5/9).
PAYING TRIBUTE: MARKETING MAGAZINE's John Reynolds reported ManU sponsors Aon and Thomas Cook are among those "preparing to pay tributes to" Ferguson. Former club sponsor Umbro, which was the club’s kit manufacturer from '92-'02, took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to "ask fans to choose their favourite club shirt over the period." Sharp Electronics, the club’s shirt sponsor from '82-'00, "paid tribute by wishing Ferguson 'Happy retirement' on Twitter." Meanwhile, some sponsorship experts believe Ferguson’s retirement will "prompt concern among some of the club’s sponsors, particularly those that have recently signed a deal or are about to renew an existing deal." IMG Consulting Int'l Managing Dir Rob Mason said, "It will be a worry for sponsors. Manchester United is the best-supported club in the country and there will be a worry as to whether this success will be continued under the new manager. Ferguson has been a fundamental reason for the success of the club and you are now taking that away" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 5/8).