Sir Alex Ferguson Farewell Speech Underlines Man Utd Support for David Moyes

Ian RodgersChief Writer IVApril 5, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 12:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates with the Premier League trophy following the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson's farewell speech to Manchester United supporters at Old Trafford was always going to be a special and emotive moment.

When the 71-year-old revealed last week his intention to retire at the end of the current Premier League season, there were audible gasps of horror across the United fanbase. Ferguson had guided the team to unparalleled levels of success during his 26-year tenure at the club, and life without the Scot at the helm was an option few wanted to consider.

But the pace of football life these days saw United turn immediately to David Moyes at Everton, and another Glaswegian will now succeed Ferguson for the new campaign.

The crucial part of Ferguson's address to the Old Trafford crowd following the 2-1 win over Swansea City came with his desire for the fans to get behind the new man:

I'd also like to remind you that when I had bad times here the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me, you stood by me, and your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.

The words came from the heart and, more importantly, from experience. Ferguson took over from the sacked Ron Atkinson in November 1986, and a first trophy did not arrive until May 1990 when United won the FA Cup with a replay win over Crystal Palace.

There is little doubt Ferguson was the driving force behind the appointment of Moyes, and his rallying call for the fans to get behind the incoming manager was as heartfelt as his gratitude to everyone involved at the club, notably the supporters with whom the former Aberdeen boss has garnered such a strong bond.

At Everton, the gratitude shown toward Moyes on his final appearance at Goodison Park was more muted, but the majority of the support was in favour of the outgoing manager.

Moyes was greeted by warm appreciation by the vast majority of the crowd as he emerged from the players' tunnel ahead of the 2-0 win over West Ham United, but there were one or two dissenting voices from the crowd also.

Moyes' name was sung with regularity and gusto by the Everton fans through the game, but these chants were also followed by their opinions of Manchester and United. While few can argue with Moyes accepting the Old Trafford role, there is only one team which counts at Goodison Park.

Everton produced, arguably, one of their best displays of the season in the win over the Hammers, especially in the first period where the passing movement for Kevin Mirallas' opening goal was simply sublime. A fitting tribute to what the manager had achieved in 11 years at the club.

New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill returned to Goodison Park after playing for the MLS side to display his appreciation for Moyes, who signed him from Millwall in 2004.

The Australia international became the signature signing of the Moyes era and was a welcome presence at Goodison for the farewell to Moyes.

Departing Everton captain Phil Neville was also given an ovation at the end of the match for his sterling service since joining the club from Manchester United in 2005.

Ferguson might not be the manager of Manchester United following the trip to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, but his call to arms in support of Moyes from the Old Trafford turf on Sunday should ensure the new boss has some time to make his mark.

Whether Moyes will be given the four years Ferguson was allowed is open to debate, though.