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Birch on first Abramovich days: I suggested he spend £20M on Chelsea signings. He spent £140M!

Former Chelsea chief Trevor Birch is proud of his role in the history of the club.

Birch brought Abramovich to Chelsea in his £140million takeover in 2003.

He can recall how surreal it felt when he met the tycoon for the first time in a box at Stamford Bridge.

Birch told the London Evening Standard: "Abramovich didn't speak English. There was an interpreter. I wasn't totally convinced he was the real thing. I had googled him but he just didn't appear anywhere. Nobody knew anything about him. So I wasn't sure whether it was a scene from Candid Camera and that suddenly Jeremy Beadle was going to jump out at me.

"But we did the deal in 10 minutes, nothing like that had ever happened. I don't think people appreciated what a game changer it was. I suggested he spent £20m on players. He spent £140m in six weeks, the biggest change I've seen in English football."

Following Peter Kenyon's appointment, Birch was offered another executive role at Chelsea but decided to leave. As he walked around the ground on his last day in charge, he was applauded by the fans. "It was one of the most humbling experiences in my life. My heart is still at Chelsea. I go back to watch."

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