A wonderfully insightful, balanced and well written article - and one that captures what I have been wrestling with since Reed’s departure.
He was the last custodian of the elements of Saints that I was most proud of - youth, coaching, formation and entertainment. He was often shit at what he did, often really shit, but what he wanted to achieve were my objectives too.
This from the article sums up my (perhaps false) conclusion that Hughes has been back over Reed.
Look back over Reed’s past statements about ‘The Pathway’, the value of 4-3-3, his dislike of sending young players on loan, and ask yourself if this man underwent a Damascene conversion, or whether he was simply overruled by know-nothings in pursuit of short-term gains.
And this captures some of my many concerns about Reed’s past performance and the hole it will leave.
Les Reed wasn’t perfect. While none of his decisions will have been made unilaterally or in a vacuum, and will have been subject to budget restraints, market forces, structural problems of football and the whims of his superiors, he presided [over] more than one dreadful appointment and some disastrous transfers in his last few years at the club. But Reed doesn’t deserve the kicking he’s endured over the years. Sacking the head of a school isn’t going to make much difference if the same financial and ideological pressures are brought to bear on their replacement, and the removal of the final link to Markus Leibherr’s Saints, which re-prioritised investment in both infrastructure and people, should chill us to our core.