Manchester United have confirmed Everton boss David Moyes as the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson on a six-year contract.
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Ferguson announced on Wednesday that he would retire from management at the end of the season after 26-and-a-half years at Old Trafford and Moyes, 50, was immediately installed as favourite to replace him after a flurry of bets.
Moyes said of his move to the Premier League champions: "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.
"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.
"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."
Out of contract in the summer, Moyes has consistently led Everton to top half finishes in the Premier League despite operating on a shoestring budget. He was chosen as the new United boss by Ferguson himself, who will move upstairs as a director and ambassador of United.
Announcing his successor, Ferguson said: "When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes. 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. He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton. There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this club."
United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, a club director, added: "I have always said that we wanted the next manager to be a genuine Manchester United man. In David Moyes, we have someone who understands the things that make this such a special club. We have secured a man who is committed to the long-term and will build teams for the future as well as now. Stability breeds success.
"David has tremendous strength of character and recognises the importance of bringing young players through and developing them alongside world class talent. At United, I think David will be able to express himself. I'm delighted he has accepted and I'm looking forward to working with him."
Ed Woodward, who replaces David Gill as chief executive this summer, added: "In David Moyes, we have secured the services of an outstanding manager who has all the skills to build on the phenomenal legacy in place today. I have no doubt that he will bring an energy and commitment to deliver winning football that is part of the fabric of this club. In this respect, he is cut from the same cloth as the Old Trafford greats who go before him.
"I have been very impressed by David's personal and managerial traits, which reflect the Manchester United values. I have no doubt that he will embrace, and soon become an integral part of, United's unique culture and heritage."
Both managers will remain in their positions for the final two games of the season, with Ferguson set for an emotional farewell at Old Trafford when United play Swansea City and the club are presented with the 13th Premier League trophy of his tenure. His final, and 1,500th game with the Red Devils will be at West Bromwich Albion.
Moyes' last match at Goodison Park as Everton boss comes against West Ham on Sunday before he bows out against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He will officially take charge of United on July 1 after the expiry of his contract with Everton.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, Swansea's Michael Laudrup and Celtic boss Neil Lennon have already emerged as early candidates for the job at Everton.
A statement released on the club's official website read: "Everton can confirm that David Moyes will leave the club at the end of the season. The manager met chairman Bill Kenwright early yesterday evening [Wednesday 8th May] and confirmed his desire to join Manchester United.
"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. He has been an outstanding Manager. During his tenure at Goodison Park, David has taken charge of the team on over 500 occasions including four European campaigns.
"His final two games as Everton manager will be the remaining Premier League matches against West Ham United and Chelsea. Everton officials will start the search for a replacement manager immediately."
Speculation over Moyes' future has grown over the season. He declared in February that he wanted to use his team's performance over the final three months of the season to help him decide whether to stay on at Goodison Park. All attempts to question him on his future after that were met with the response that he would make a decision at the end of the season.
A long-time friend of Ferguson, Moyes was a candidate to become his assistant at Old Trafford after Brian Kidd vacated the role to become manager of Blackburn in December 1998.
The two men met to discuss the role, and Moyes - then in charge of Preston - was interested in making the move, but after nearly two months of deliberation Ferguson instead decided to bring in Steve McClaren, then Derby's first-team coach, at the start of February 1999.
Moyes began his managerial career with Preston in 1998, leading the club up to the second tier in his second year in charge, before succeeding former Manchester United assistant manager Walter Smith at Goodison Park in 2002.
His time with Everton has not resulted in silverware, but he led the club into the top four in 2005 as well as finishing runners-up in the FA Cup in 2009. He shares with Ferguson the record for LMA Manager of the Year awards, earning the accolade in 2003, 2005 and 2009.