With his contract at Everton due to expire at the end of the season, Moyes had been considering his future for several weeks, but the Scot was leaning towards staying at Goodison Park before a dramatic 48 hours that changed the face of English football.
On Wednesday United manager Alex Ferguson rocked the sport when he revealed he would retire at the end of the season, prompting the Premier League champions to make their move for Moyes, who had been recommended by the man he will replace as Old Trafford supremo.
Moyes didn’t have to think twice about accepting the once in a lifetime opportunity and the 50-year-old was confirmed on Thursday as the first new United boss since 1986.
“Things have developed very quickly,” Moyes said on Friday. “It was a whirlwind and it would be completely wrong to say it was done a month ago.
“Everton Football Club is such an important thing for me. But as for thinking about turning the job down, if I am being honest, I have to say no I didn’t.”
Moyes was speaking at an Everton press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against West Ham and, although the media were told before arrival that they would not be allowed to ask directly about United, he did reveal how difficult it will be to leave Everton.
“It was very difficult, because I have great respect for the chairman (Bill Kenwright). He is a great guy. Never critical, always supportive. It was a difficult meeting to tell him I would be leaving,” Moyes said.
“Sometime you have to leave a club and I hope that I am leaving them in the best way I can.”
Moyes also paid tribute to Ferguson, adding: “It’s a strange thing. I don’t think anybody thought he would retire. He is superhuman.
“He will be sorely missed. I know how much he is respected.”
Moyes’ first challenge when he arrives in Manchester will be to decide the future of England striker Wayne Rooney.
It was Moyes who brought Rooney through at Everton aged just 16, but their relationship deteriorated after he was sold to United in 2004.
Having already shocked United fans in 2010 by handing in a transfer request which alerted cross-city rivals Manchester City before he performed a U-turn, Rooney’s long-term future is again in doubt after it emerged he asked to leave two weeks ago.
United have insisted Rooney is not for sale, but Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and City are all potential suitors for the 27-year-old.
Meanwhile, United captain Nemanja Vidic can’t wait to start the Moyes era because he believes the Scot is the perfect choice to replace Ferguson.
After playing out the final two games of the current campaign, United will be under new management for the first time in 27 years and, while some fans may be apprehensive about life after the phenomenally successful Ferguson, Vidic is relishing the opportunity to work with Moyes.
“David Moyes did a great job with Everton,” Vidic said.
“He is the man who gets his players to work hard and show discipline.
“He did that well with Everton because in the last few years they’ve been successful in getting into the top six.”
While Moyes failed to win a major trophy during his 11-year reign at Goodison Park, he earned tremendous respect for keeping the team in contention for European football on a limited budget.
Ferguson clearly holds Moyes in high regard and Vidic sees similarities between the two fiery Scots.
“I’m looking forward to working with David and I believe I will have the same success I had with Sir Alex,” Vidic said.
“David and Sir Alex share some similarities – they are very passionate, they are both winners and you can see the way they approach the games and how they run things.”
With Moyes on the way out, Everton must now find a successor capable of building on his good work and Wigan’s Roberto Martinez and Celtic’s Neil Lennon are among the favourites to take over.
“Of course, it is nice recognition,” Lennon said.
“Everton are a great club with great history and they just lost probably one of the greatest managers in their history.
“It is flattering to be linked with them but that’s all it is, just a link.”