David Moyes has reiterated he could not have turned down Manchester United as he prepares to face Everton for the first time since making the move from Goodison Park to succeed Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
It is sure to be a strange evening for the Scot, not least because his old club look to end a 21-year wait for an away win at United having been guided into a higher league position than their north-west rivals by Moyes’ successor Roberto Martinez.
However, he would not have it any other way.
“I don’t think anyone would have turned it down. The opportunity was too big.
“Obviously I have fond memories. You don’t just throw 11 years away.
“But I have had to divorce myself from it. United is my team now and all my concentration has been on them.”
Moyes’ status on Merseyside should have been secure.
Some have turned against him, though, discounting the giant strides made over an 11-year period on the basis of an ’insulting’ £28m joint bid for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.
Though Fellaini eventually made the move on deadline day for £27.5m, Baines remained, with Everton rejecting Moyes’ final advances in the hours before the transfer window shut.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright was unhappy at United’s conduct and many Everton fans voiced their opposition to Moyes.
But the Red Devils chief insisted Kenwright should have known what was coming - because he told him.
“Once I got the United job I discussed it with Bill near enough immediately,” Moyes said.
“I said that there would be some players I would be interested in.
“Bill was well aware of it but obviously it was always going to be a difficult thing when it actually came to it.”
In hindsight, Moyes recognises the situation might have been handled differently by all parties, which is just as well given it appears his interest in Baines remains.
“There were bits of it I would have liked to have done better but there were also bits of it as a whole I think could have been done better,” he said.
“That is football. I speak with Bill Kenwright regularly. We both knew that this would happen but it is never that easy.
“But time moves on as well.
“Life is too short to hold any grudges.
“I had a great working relationship with Bill and the board of directors there, and that is the way it remains.”