Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has paid an emotional tribute to departing manager David Moyes but said his thoughts have already turned to appointing his successor at Goodison Park after the Scot was named the new Manchester United manager.
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• David Moyes gallery
Kenwright said he has been swept away by the whirlwind of events that have engulfed his manager since news broke on Wednesday morning that Sir Alex Ferguson was stepping down after more than 26 years at Old Trafford.
Once it became clear that Moyes was the only contender for the United job, Kenwright was forced to accept his 11-year partnership with the 50-year-old coach was coming to an end.
"He is a great manager and Manchester United are very lucky," Kenwright told reporters. "It will be tough for all Evertonians to say goodbye to him and, let's be honest, we couldn't stand in his way because he is out of contract.
"It's been an extraordinary 24 hours, one that I wasn't prepared for yesterday morning. I have always prepared with the idea that David Moyes would be my manager for next season.
"We've had a really good 11-year adventure with David and it's my job and the club's job to get a worthy successor and build on what David has brought to the club. From here on in, it's important that the club continues in the David Moyes's tradition.
"I am pretty convinced that Evertonians will only look upon David Moyes with gratitude for what he has done."
Kenwright refused to be drawn on speculation that Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is his first choice to succeed Moyes, but he promised Everton fans he would do all he could to give them a worthy successor.
"We will be out there finding the right man for this club," he said. "It is an extraordinary football club that is worshipped by its fans and they are the people who we have been thinking about most in the last 24 hours.
"You know, 11 years ago I made an instant decision the moment I met David (to give him the job) and that cannot happen this time. We really need to look seriously this time and we will. I won't lie to you and say there is no one in my head, there's no one in the head of Everton fans. I'm getting the texts from them and they are no fools.
"They took to David Moyes very quickly and I'll be looking to those supporters to get the kind of guidance that true football fans can give to a chairman and to its football club.
"It is important that they get the right man. Of course it's important that they get the right man. They know the advanture we have had for 11 years and it's very important that it continues and grows for them.
"It's a very important part of my life to make sure that those supporters are not let down."