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Ex-Chelsea chief Birch: I thought I was on Candid Camera when Abramovich purchased

Former Chelsea CEO Trevor Birch admits he wasn't too sure about Roman Abramovich prior to the Russian billionaire purchasing the club.

Abramovich expressed interest at buying the Blues back in 2003 and when he and his advisers met with Birch, the then-Chelsea chief did not know if it was legitimate or not.

"Abramovich didn't speak English [when the pair first met]. 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," he told the London Evening Standard.

"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."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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