Southampton sack vice-chairman Les Reed as pressure builds on Mark Hughes

Southampton sack vice-chairman Les Reed as pressure builds on Mark Hughes

Southampton: Vice-chairman Les Reed leaves the club

Southampton vice-chairman Les Reed has left with the club saying it needs to “take constructive action” to “get results back on track”.

Saints, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, are currently 16th, after just one win this campaign.

The clubs Chinese owner, Gao Jisheng and his family, who took control in the summer of last year, have had two representatives working on site every day in order to oversee their investment. With the team in poor form in 16th place in the Premier League, expensive mistakes having been made in the transfer market and a slow-down in the production line from the academy, they felt a change of direction was needed.

He oversaw a period in which the club won promotion to the Championship, then the Premier League and they reached the EFL Cup final in 2017.

On Thursday Hughes said: All the board and the ownership itself made that decision to offer me that contract so, although Les is no longer around as a sounding board and as a supportive guy in the background, theres still a lot of people here that felt I was the right man for the job. I dont think my position has been diminished too much in that regard.

Saints are without a league win in seven matches and manager Mark Hughes recognises the need for results to improve.

“Were all part of it,” he told BBC Radio Solent. “Were all trying to be successful for the club in each and every role that we do.

The club said it was time to take constructive action and provide new drive and direction to our football operations team, promising to search for the right replacement for Reed. Ross Wilson, the highly regarded head of recruitment, is expected to take a prominent role.

“That includes myself, my coaches and the players themselves. Were at a point where we need to understand results change everybodys perception.

“Lately, we havent got the results we feel weve deserved. But its not a statement were going to be able to keep on saying as clearly, were going to have to turn that round.”

Former Blackburn and Stoke boss Hughes hopes he will have a more direct say in transfers and recruitment following Reeds departure.

• Technical director Martin Hunter also dismissed in shake-up• Manager vulnerable with Saints struggling in Premier League

“My input was (previously) limited as I was coming in at the latter stages of what was already going on,” he said.

“I expect my involvement to increase going forwards and I think that will be a good thing. Ive got a lot of knowledge and understanding about what is needed to come in.”

“The process of recruiting the right individual to head up our football operations is under way, and is a decision that needs to be given the necessary time and attention that reflects what an important position it is within our club.

Chairman Ralph Krueger said appointing Reeds successor would be given the “necessary time and attention that reflects what an important position it is within our club”.

“In the summer, I was offered a three-year contract. Clearly Les would have had an impact in that decision but not totally,” said Hughes at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Watford.

In a statement, Saints said: “The club believes the time is right to take constructive action and make a change that will provide new drive and direction to our football operations team and enable them to get results back on track.”

Saints finished in the top-eight in the league for four successive seasons under Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman and Claude Puel. They finished 17th last year, with Mark Hughes brought in to avoid relegation after Mauricio Pellegrino was sacked.

Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin are just some of the players to have left the club for big fees in recent years.

Les Reeds departure as Southampton vice-chairman is a development of significance because he has been central to clubs football strategy – and now turns more attention on manager Hughes.

“We will envisage to get a positive run of results because clearly that’s one of the reasons why decisions have been made because results of late haven’t been where they need to be.”

Reed arrived when Saints were in the third tier of English football and worked alongside managers such as Pochettino and Koeman when Southampton established themselves in the upper reaches of the Premier League.

After narrowly avoiding Premier League relegation last term, the south coast club are doing little better this season and sit 16th in the table having mustered just seven points from 11 matches.

Southampton also defied logic by flourishing despite constant managerial changes and the regular sale of their prized assets – particularly the likes of Van Dijk, Mane and Lallana to Liverpool.

“His time at the club will be remembered for the fine work he did in overseeing our progress through the divisions and establishing the club in the Premier League.

Reed, however, had also been working in tandem with Pellegrino during his failed regime that saw a struggle against relegation last season and while the late appointment of Hughes saw Saints stay up, they now sit only one point above the relegation places after the 6-1 thrashing at Manchester City last Sunday.

Reed headed football-related matters at St Mary’s since 2010 – a period in which Saints rose from League One to finish as high as sixth in the top flight.

Southamptons statement said it was time to take “constructive action” and also confirmed a review into the clubs football operation has begun.

It remains to be seen what ramifications Reeds departure has for Hughes but it has certainly increased the urgency for him to get results.

Reed, who has been in charge of football related matters at St Mary’s since 2010, has gone with immediate effect with Saints languishing in the table having won just one top flight game this season.

The 65-year-old will be replaced in due course, but the club insist they are in no hurry to make a new appointment.

A club statement said: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm it has agreed to part company with its Vice Chairman (Football), Les Reed.

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