Everton manager David Moyes said his goodbyes at Goodison Park on Sunday in perfect fashion with his talented side cruising to a 2-0 win over West Ham United in the Premier League.
Goals in each half from Belgian striker Kevin Mirallas ensured Moyes departed from the blue half of Merseyside a winner after 11 years in charge of the Toffees.
Moyes, 50, is joining Everton’s rivals Manchester United as the replacement for fellow Glaswegian Sir Alex Ferguson, who is stepping down after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.
Also on Sunday, Emmanuel Adebayor struck late to earn Tottenham Hotspur a 2-1 at Stoke City that kept their slim hopes of UEFA Champions League qualification alive.
Norwich City and Newcastle United ensured their Premier League survival with one match left in the season. Norwich crushed West Bromwich Albion 4-0 and Newcastle won 2-1 at relegated Queens Park Rangers.
It was not clear how Everton fans would feel about their manager leaving for United, but he was warmly received by the crowd, who showed their appreciation for the progress the club has made under him, despite the failure to win a trophy.
Their reaction was also helped by the fact they will finish above great rivals Liverpool for the second consecutive season.
“There’s always a worry when you’re joining another club, but Everton fans were magnificent for me today,” Moyes told the BBC. “David Unsworth scored my first goal at Goodison 11 years ago after about 25 seconds and I’m delighted I finished it off here with a win. I thank all the players who have worked with me.”
After 71-year-old Ferguson announced his retirement on Wednesday, the Manchester club took barely a day to appoint Moyes as his successor.
Everton, on the other hand, were surprised by the speed of developments, despite Moyes’ contract running out at the end of the season, and a replacement has yet to be named.
Moyes was confident that whoever took over from him would make the most of a small, but talented squad.
“Whoever comes in is going to have joy working with the current set of players,” he said, before contemplating his last game in charge of Everton next Sunday. “I’ve got another week and I’m going to make sure I’m at it with the players because we want a result at Chelsea.”
“The victory [over West Ham] was deserved. We’re going to finish in a good league position and I’m happy with that,” he added.
Ferguson had recommended Moyes as his replacement and the younger Scot said he would have no qualms about suggesting who should take over from him at Goodison Park if asked.
“I haven’t recommended anyone for the job to the chairman. If he asks me for an opinion then I’ll give it to him,” Moyes said.
Spurs trailed to Steven Nzonzi’s early goal at Stoke, but Clint Dempsey equalized and after Stoke’s Charlie Adam was sent early the second half, the visitors made their advantage count when striker Adebayor tapped in at the far post after 83 minutes.
Tottenham climbed above Arsenal into fourth place, three points behind Chelsea, who won 2-1 at Aston Villa on Saturday, with one match left.
Robert Snodgrass struck after 25 minutes to set up Norwich’s comfortable win over West Brom, with Grant Holt, a Gareth McAuley own-goal and Jonny Howson’s late strike completing the rout.
Newcastle fell behind to Loic Remy’s early penalty for QPR, but Hatem Ben Arfa equalized from the spot and Yoan Gouffran grabbed the winner before halftime.
Sunderland broke the deadlock against Southampton with a 69th-minute goal from defender Phil Bardsley, but Jason Puncheon equalized eight minutes later and the game ended 1-1. Sunderland are only four points above Wigan Athletic, who have two games left, leaving their manager Paolo di Canio to face a nervous final week of the season.
Fulham led Liverpool through Dimitar Berbatov’s early goal, but Daniel Sturridge equalized after 36 minutes and scored again midway through the second half, before completing his first hat-trick for the club five minutes from time.