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Manchester United have been preparing for Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, says David Gill

The 71-year-old will step down as manager at the end of the season to take up a role as a director, while Everton boss David Moyes is set to succeed the Scot at Old Trafford

Manchester United chief executive David Gill says that the club have already been making preparations ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

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Goal.com exclusively revealed on Wednesday that Everton boss David Moyes is set to succeed the 71-year-old as manager at Old Trafford and could be announced within 24 hours, with the veteran deciding that now is the "right time" and that he has left the club in the "strongest shape possible". The Scot will become a director and ambassador at Old Trafford at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Gill has revealed that the club have already begun planning for Sir Alex's retirement but insists that the United boss will be involved with making the next managerial appointment.

"It is a new era and I look forward to watching a successful Manchester United team on the pitch," the chief executive, who will also leave his post in the summer, told MUTV.

"It is a momentous day for the club, the fans and the whole football world. Working with Sir Alex has been the highlight of my career.

"We knew this day would come and we have been preparing for this," Gill continued. "The board will take council from Sir Alex and Sir Bobby [Charlton] on the new appointment.

"Everyone can rest assured the new manager will get the necessary space and necessary opportunity to do his job without interference.

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"I'm not going to get into speculation on [an exact date] but we will move relatively quickly. I'm not going to define how quickly that is, though.

"The qualities [needed] are the ones that have been inherent in Manchester United for many years. If you look at what has happened with the two most successful eras – Sir Matt Busby and Alex – they are managers who got involved in the whole aspect of the club, whether it be from the youth team up to the first team.

"All aspects of it, plus that degree of loyalty and the understanding of the football club that it's not just what happens on the first-team pitch, is crucial to the success of Manchester United. Those are the sort of things we’ll be looking at.

"Clearly he has to have the requisite football experience, both in terms of domestic and European experience, so I think it's a small pool but we'll move forward."

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