There is a famous old comedy sketch in which the death of a politician is announced on air.

The guests quickly change their tone from aggressively critical to reverence and reflection as they hear of the passing.

Some, though not all, Saints fans are feeling that same kind of perspective today with the news that Les Reed has left the club.

In recent months there has been an ever-growing chorus of voices expressing displeasure at the way he was running the football side of things.

However, once the metaphorical head was served up, there has been reflection on the good he has done as well as the need to move on.

Reed joined Saints in 2010, recommended to Nicola Cortese by Andy Oldknow and Howard Wilkinson, and set about building some lasting foundations.

Reed was a long time FA man, and the structured way he went about his work was typical of that business management school of thought, rather than the traditionally more chaotic and reactive football way of doing things.

He tried to get the right people in the right jobs, he led the redevelopment of Staplewood, guiding its construction to make it a state-of-the-art facility, and ensured backing for the academy, who now have the kind of resources that are the envy of much of the football world.

Cortese’s strength of character and single mindedness during his chairmanship ensured that Reed’s input into the first team was more limited than it would later become, but he still had a role to play in the club returning from League One to the Premier League.

In the wake of Cortese’s departure, Reed’s role really stepped up a notch.

It was at that point that he took total control of footballing matters at a board level.

Katharina Liebherr and Ralph Krueger admitted they did not have the expertise or knowledge to lead that side of the club, and Reed being in situ, and with his background, was the man they trusted. That was up until this week.

While the appointments of Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino were ultimately overseen by Cortese with Reed playing a supporting role, the recruitment of Ronald Koeman was overseen by Reed with the board playing a supporting role.

And that was the way things would continue.

Reed and Saints rode the crest of a wave under Koeman, who proved a fantastic manager, while their recruitment was absolutely spot on.

Having been the buying club rather than the selling one in a position of strength in the lower leagues under Cortese – thanks to Markus Liebherr’s cash – they had a role reversal.

Top flight success, while the club functioned as a business, meant that they found it impossible to turn down huge offers for key players.

However, for a time they got away with it.

Koeman’s instincts when it came to signings were remarkable and tallied with the work Saints under Reed were doing too. In that short space of time the recruitment of Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane were first class. Even the deals which didn’t work out weren’t disastrous.

Saints scaled the heights. They truly were heady days and finishing sixth in the Premier League and qualifying for the Europa League was a quite wonderful achievement.

The cracks really started to appear towards the end of Koeman’s time at Saints.

He had annoyed Reed and the Saints hierarchy.

They didn’t like his approach. He was old school. He ran things the way he wanted. His concern was for the team, not paperwork, protocol, picking young players who he felt weren’t good enough for the sake of philosophy. As far as those above him were concerned, he was almost out of control, and certainly felt himself beyond reproach. It didn’t sit well.

And, what’s more, in the eyes of those in charge, the success owed a lot to the structure, the management above Koeman, and therefore the thought grew that changing managers would be little more than a bump in the road.

It’s why, when Everton came sniffing around, there was a remarkable lack of passion from both sides to prevent it happening.

In the black and white world of football, Koeman was of course cast in the role of money grabbing snake.

There was more to it than that though.

It was no surprise, therefore, that Saints and Reed went for a manager who was the antithesis of Koeman when they appointed Claude Puel, and then gave it another go with Mauricio Pellegrino fitting the same blueprint.

These guys as characters weren’t a threat, they were not overbearing, and they were happy to agree to work within the Saints structure.

However, there were two major issues in play.

The first was that they couldn’t command things in the way that Koeman had. The benefit of a strong manager has become increasingly evident at St Mary’s.

The second is that the player recruitment went totally haywire.

While big players continued to be sold for big money, their replacements costing significantly less were, unsurprisingly, inferior.

Saints had seemed to believe their own hype, when the truth was they had not reinvented the wheel with scouting or the ‘Blackbox’. They were the same as any other club. Sell players for huge fees and replace them with cheaper ones and the quality goes down. You can’t get away with it forever.

The squad has ballooned, but the quality of the first team stepping over the white line has decreased in a league where you have to take at least one step forward each summer just to stand still.

Despite some reasonable results Puel was sacked. Saints are still irked when his season is described as a failure, but if you bin your manager at the end of it then surely it is by your own standards.

Saints clung on with Pellegrino but acted when they felt they would go down. It was only the appointment of Mark Hughes, a long term acquaintance of Reed’s, that did the job and kept them afloat.

Heading into this season, and appointing Hughes without a thorough recruitment process, things haven’t got much better, though most people would recognise that the squad is the main issue.

And again you come back to the same problems with transfers.

The reason? Under the ownership of Gao Jisheng, Saints continue to run themselves as a business rather than having an owner investing into the club itself.

Saints do generate profit, of course, but they have reinvested most of it in the squad. They have just reinvested a lot of it badly.

Some blame head of recruitment Ross Wilson for flops like Guido Carrillo and Sofiane Boufal, a combined £34m now out on loan. Many of this summer’s signings fail to get into a struggling team. But Reed is in charge of football affairs and so carries the can.

The money spent unwisely has caught up with Saints. Huge signings going wrong doesn’t just have a short term impact, it is felt much further into the future too as every one that goes awry cripples the spending power of the next couple of windows too. Chuck a few of those in together and you have a major problem.

And so Reed’s time ends with tributes but also recriminations.

Most at the club privately thought Reed would be out of the door in the summer. Many believe that only the upbeat mood of the fans on the final day, when they chanted and sung and cheered in front of Gao Jisheng, persuaded him to back the status quo.

But things reached the stage this season where it was felt something had to happen.

Inevitably it raises more questions than answers until a replacement is found, but while Reed’s departure will be celebrated by many fans, those who realise that the Koeman days were some of the greatest the club has experienced, and may do for a very long time to come, will also have some perspective.