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Chelsea chief Kenyon pleased with Asian tour impact

"I think people, the media included, need to be realistic of what it is possible to achieve in one tour," he told the club's website.

"People forget this is our first Asian tour of any note and most of our main competitors have been twice at least to this area in recent years. This tour was just as much about relationship building in these areas, laying down good foundations to return through our legacy work and on that level it was fantastic.

"Everywhere we went we were surrounded by fans and I think the players were a little surprised with how many there were waiting outside our hotels and in the lobby just to catch a glimpse of them.

"At a higher political level we have made real progress with local FA's and local Government authorities. They were very appreciative of the work we did in their communities with our Football in the Community team who were doing clinics almost every day in all three cities. And we furthered our work with the Asian Football Confederation with whom we have an exclusive involvement in Vision Asia, their grass roots development programme.

"Plus we also got very involved in raising awareness and funds for various Sichuan earthquake efforts and it was particularly moving in Guangzhou where we had ten orphaned children come to the match, meet the players and get coaching from our FITC team.

"The external scrutiny is always going to focus on size of crowds at games, which we understand. Measuring success is not just about that although it is clearly important.

"However we were generally very happy with the crowds and it just goes to show the following Chelsea really has. We played in two very large stadia in Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou and did not expect to sell them out because no English team has ever done that. But in Kuala Lumpur the crowd was in the region of 60,000 which got close to a sell out and Guangzhou 35,000.

"The only slight disappointment was Macau where it appears the issue was with ticket distribution, not a lack of tickets sold as 13,000 had been pre-sold for a 15,000 stadium. So that's a lesson to learn for the future. Overall though we think the crowds were very positive and was a major step forward for us and also demonstrated the interest in the Premier League.

"Lastly what many would not know is that we did extremely well to even get into China for a game this summer. The Chinese authorities are quite naturally focused on the Beijing Olympics and many top European clubs had great difficulty organising games there, many of which did not take place. So I think that shows a value on the relationships we had already built up."

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Tribal Football Staff

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