Pressing attentions just a taster for Moyes
Boss tries in vain to avoid succession questions as he gets United treatment
‘It came out of the blue. It was a whirlwind. That’s how it was. This certainly wasn’t done a month ago. Some people have said that and that is completely wrong.’ Photograph: Jon Buckle/PA Wire
He does not officially start until July 1st but David Moyes was introduced to the world of a Manchester United manager at his first public appearance since accepting the formidable challenge of succeeding Alex Ferguson. From attempted regulation of the press to the amount of people hanging on his every word, Moyes and Ferguson certainly looked to be cut from the same cloth at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground yesterday.
There had been doubt as to whether the 50-year-old would hold his usual Friday press conference but then came the 9.48am email from Everton.
“Please note Mr Moyes will not be answering any questions on the subject of Manchester United or his appointment as the club’s new manager,” it read.
In fairness to Everton, they were concerned that a paean to Manchester United from Moyes while still dressed in royal blue would aggravate supporters and threaten the rousing, emotional reception he should receive from Goodison Park when West Ham United visit for his final home game tomorrow.
The United treatment was waiting on arrival at Finch Farm.
Television vans lined the narrow lane that runs alongside the training ground, security staff chased photographers trying to snap a shot of training through the trees and the small press room was crowded by the time Moyes entered shortly after 1.30pm. This was not the usual Friday fare at Everton.
“Have you nothing to do today?” he said before taking his seat and issuing a plaintive plea.
“I would really respect it if you kept the questions to Everton Football Club. I’m the manager of Everton Football Club at this present time and have great respect for them, so this press conference is about Everton.”
Alan Myers, the former Everton press officer turned Sky Sports News reporter, lightened the mood with: “West Ham? What’s your thoughts?”
Moyes dissolved into laughter and suddenly it was a Ferguson-style press conference no more.
But this was a taste of things to come for the manager who is discovering that his wife and children are suddenly newsworthy too.
Is he prepared for the intense scrutiny that will be on his every step at Old Trafford, as opposed to the odd occasion at Goodison Park?
‘Glare on me’
“I think I am,” he said. “When you are a young man you want to be near the top as often as you can. I wasn’t inexperienced when I came in to Everton but I was younger and, because of that, there was a lot of glare on me then.
“I walked in here and thought there are millions here compared to Preston. You adapt and I hope I will do the same.
“Everybody develops but I hope I will be the same guy and not change whatever the future brings me.”
Moyes confirmed that, despite all United’s planning for the day Ferguson retired, the offer to leave Everton had only materialised within the past week.
“It came out of the blue. It was a whirlwind. That’s how it was. This certainly wasn’t done a month ago. Some people have said that and that is completely wrong.
“I asked the players to remain professional and to win the last two games of the season. They cannot let anything get in the way of anything they have done this season because they have been exceptional. I would hate anything to get in the way of that.”
Everton’s manager for two more matches denied the past week, or the meeting where he informed chairman Bill Kenwright that he would be leaving after 11 years, had been overly emotional.
“Turbulent,” Moyes put it, although his eyes were reddened throughout the press conference and he steadied himself on a few occasions.