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Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 19:37 GMT
Everton move for Moyes
Time runs out for Everton's Walter Smith
Walter Smith is set to be replaced by David Moyes
Everton have made their official move for Preston North End manager David Moyes after sacking Walter Smith.

Preston have confirmed Everton's formal approach to open talks with Moyes in a bid to appoint him as Smith's successor.

Walter Smith brought a stability and dignity to Everton when it desperately needed it most
Everton owner Bill Kenwright

And Everton owner Bill Kenwright is already talking to the Preston manager - who is one year into a five-year contract at Deepdale - as he tries to have Moyes in place for Saturday's home game against Fulham.

"I had first my conversation with him 20 minutes ago and we will be talking further, probably through the night, and we will see how it goes," said Kenwright.

Preston's acting chairman Derek Shaw said: "In my opinion, David Moyes is the best young manager in football at the moment and it is not in our interests to lose him.

"But Everton get 40,000 crowds, and we can't give David that.

"David wants to speak to Everton so you can draw your own conclusions from that.

Chief executive Tony Scholes added: "In any event, we will not allow David to leave unless an adequate compensation package is agreed."

Kenwright decided to end Smith's reign in light of the dismal 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday and poor league form.

Smith dismissed claims he has left with a 1m pay-off and said: "We have not discussed compensation. I don't know where those stories have come from.

"I am very disappointed with the way things have turned out.

"I wish everyone at the club the best of luck for the rest of the season and for future years too. There's not much more I can say,"

Kenwright claimed the decision to sack Smith "had not been taken lightly.

"Obviously the decision was not taken lightly, but it was felt it was in the best interests of the club as it battles to preserve it's Premiership status."

Bill Kenwright
Kenwright is already talking to David Moyes

Smith took over at Everton in July 1998 following a successful seven-year stint at Rangers.

The club revealed in a statement on Wednesday morning: "Everton Football Club wishes to announce that its team manager Walter Smith has left the club, his contract having been terminated.

"The club wishes to thank Mr Smith for his service since his appointment in the summer of 1998.

"The club has now begun the process of identifying and then appointing a new manager, something which, it is hoped, will be concluded as swiftly as possible.

"No further comment will be made until the club is in a position to name its new team manager."

Archie Knox, Smith's assistant, is likely to assume temporary control of the Everton team, but is likely to depart if Moyes is appointed.

BBC football correspondent Mike Ingham
"Arresting the decline at Goodison Park won't happen overnight"
BBC Sport's Howard Booth
"It had always been a losing battle for Smith"
Preston's club president Tom Finney
"David would be a great loss to Preston"
Can David Moyes keep Everton up?



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David Moyes is the new Everton manager

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See also:

13 Mar 02 |  Everton
Smith: My Everton pain
11 Mar 02 |  Everton
Dark days for Smith
13 Mar 02 |  Everton
Smith succumbs to pressure
13 Mar 02 |  Everton
Moyes ready to move on
13 Mar 02 |  Everton
Smith's Everton years
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