When he agreed to stay on at Newcastle United last summer, Rafa Benitez knew that he had a massive job on his hands.

The fact that Newcastle had dropped into the Championship was self-evident but beneath the senior level, Rafa has also inherited a total mess.

Years of neglect and failing to put resources into young players, coaches of the necessary quality, and facilities, have left Newcastle United with dismal results in recent seasons.

Rafa Benitez has taken drastic action already to try and put short-term sticking plasters over problems at Academy and Reserve team level, bringing in a number of players in the past eight months, including half a dozen youngsters from abroad – with Spanish attacking player Victor Fernandez the latest in recent days.

However, fixing the youth set-up properly at NUFC is going to be a far longer job.

There have been some small pieces of encouragement, including beating Sunderland in the FA Youth Cup, but there again the Mackems are rock bottom of the Premier League Under 18 division.

Friday night saw the Newcastle United Under 18s (Academy) side travel to the North West for their latest league game and as the snow fell, the Magpies fell apart.

Manchester United took the lead after only six minutes through Zachary Dearnley and then Aidan Barlow added a second-half hat-trick as Man U ran out easy winners 4-0.

This made it four defeats in a row and the third of those four where four goals have have conceded.

The last nine league games have produced only one win for Newcastle and eight defeats, NUFC’s young players conceding a massive 27 goals and scoring only six.

All Newcastle fans hope that despite the transfer window shenanigans, Rafa Benitez still sees Newcastle United as a long-term project.

Clearly the whole club needs gutted and rebuilding, needing a quality Manager and plenty time to do it.

We have the perfect person and let’s just hope he is given the right backing to convince Rafa Benitez that St James Park should be his long-term football home.