Outgoing Everton manager David Moyes said he was disappointed to be leaving a "great club" but admitted there was no way he could turn down the opportunity to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
In an emotional press conference, his first since confirmation yesterday that he would be leaving Goodison Park after 11 years, it was clear how much Everton means to Moyes. However the lure of Old Trafford was something he simply could not resist.
"I'm disappointed to be leaving such a great club," he said. "The club has been such a great part of my life."
But when asked if he had considered turning down United's approach, Moyes said simply: "I have to be honest and say no."
The huge numbers of media present underlined the huge interest in Moyes replacing Ferguson. Moyes greeted those present with a wisecrack: "Have you nothing to do today?", before confirming he wished to talk solely about Everton, which he did with an acute sense of pride.
"It has been very difficult," he said. "I have great respect for the chairman and have a great relationship with him. He is a really good guy. We had a difficult meeting on Wednesday but he totally understood."
Moyes rejected any claim the deal had been done weeks ago and said he had been planning for next season. And, even though his contract was due to expire in the summer, he said his feeling had been that he would stay.
"I wasn't planning to leave," he said. "My contract was running out but if you had pushed me, I would have said I would stay. Everything is in place for next season, pre-season has been arranged and the chairman knew what I wanted to do."
Only once did Moyes speak specifically about the man he is about to replace, underlining what a loss Ferguson is going to be to the British game.
"I don't think anybody thought the day would come when Sir Alex Ferguson retired," said Moyes. "We all thought he was superhuman. He is an example to anyone in their 70s. The respect for him within the game is beyond any words I can use. We are from different eras. I grew up looking at Jock Stein and Sir Alex Ferguson."
"First I admired him and then, as the years have gone by, I have competed against him. I cannot say anything that would do justice to what he has done."
Moyes has Ferguson's personal backing, though. And it is clear his passion and fierce determination are very similar to the man he is about to replace.
"I have not lost the intensity I had when I was younger but maybe I use it in the right way," said Moyes. "I certainly hope I have not lost the inner devilment you need."
Moyes said he would understand if some Everton fans were upset at the manner of his departure. However, he wants to see the job through, and intends to stand in exactly the same place in his dug-out on Sunday for the encounter with West Ham, even if he insists he is not saying goodbye.
"Maybe the hardest part on Sunday will be at the end of the game, but I will be coming back to Goodison Park," he said. "I will not be away long. Hopefully on Sunday the fans will react in the same way they did when I first walked through the door.
"You can never tell with football fans. They support their team and I would understand it if they weren't happy. But I will be standing in the same position as I always have done, trying to see if we can take this outside chance of getting into Europe."
Moyes also confirmed Kenwright had asked his advice over a successor, although he opted against discussing any particular individual.
"This is a great football club," he said. "When I first came here I called it the 'People's Club'. If ever a statement was true, it was that one. It will always be very close to me. Whoever comes in will be coming to a really good environment."