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Ken Bates’ controversial reign as Chelsea chairman camme to an end yesterday but the 72-year-old insists he is ready for “another challenge” after ending his 22-year connection with the west London club.

Bates left after being increasingly sidelined in the new Chelsea regime under Roman Abramovich.

“I’m 72 and I’ve got another challenge left in me,’ he said.

“I thought long and hard about it but it is obviously a clash of eastern and western values and philosophies. Their values and philosophies are not mine.”

Peter Kenyon moved from Manchester United to take over as Stamford Bridge chief executive, while Bates was replaced by American lawyer Bruce Buck as chairman of the Chelsea Village parent company in February.

His column in the club’s matchday programme was then dropped – although Bates claims this was his decision.

He said: “The king is dead, long live the king. Well, he’s retired anyway.

“I had a contract with Roman Abramovich and I anticipated a phased phase-out but that has not gone the way that I anticipated. The agreement I had in July was broken and I have decided to resign.”

Bates warned Abramovich that patience would be required to achieve success at Chelsea.

“You have to have patience to build a house, brick by brick. It doesn’t happen overnight,” he declared.

“Roman bought the toy shop and he is entitled to do what he wants with it. I hope he respects the toys that he bought and that we all enjoy here.”

Bates, who bought Chelsea for just £1 in 1982, made a reported £17m from selling his Chelsea stake to Abramovich.

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