Former Chelsea chief Trevor Birch has revealed he attempted to convince Roman Abramovich to launch a charm offensive when he first took over.

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

He told the London Evening Standard: "I said to him, 'Look, you're living every supporter's dream. Why not allow them to share in that dream and therefore, at one fell swoop, just reduce the season-ticket prices. So it announces your arrival with a bang and supporters from every other club would wish they had an owner like you'.

"What I thought Chelsea should try was to become everybody's favourite second team. There are certain ways that you need to act to gain that kind of affection from people. I was voted down. They said, 'We're going to run it as a business, break even and be the biggest club'. How ironic given the hundreds of millions in losses. The stance he took rubbed the neutrals up the wrong way."