Saturday, 30 October 2010

written by John Doe

"The port of Malacca was in a horrible state of affairs. Every night, the river of Malacca had to be chained with logs, to keep the marauding Pirates from attacking this small port. Sailors had to sleep in their ships, to safeguard their cargo, and to prevent the frequent attacks and the burning of ships... Malacca was no longer safe"... - Portuguese Records.

Malacca was never the largest port in SEA. It was never the most important port either. It was always overshadowed by Tioman, Pasai, Patanni, Aceh, and so on. The trouble is, the Indonesian Government does not even want to recognize the Acehnese Kingdom anywhere in their Textbooks, or present day Maps, simply because the Acehnese are claiming independence. (The same quashing of this history is happening to Pattani, hence the everyday violence in Yala, Songkla, Satun and Narathiwat.)

The Acehnese territories had been under the Ottoman Empire for a brief spell in the 12th & 13th Century. This leads to further Academic complications as the Ottoman Empire was a creation of the Mongols of Gengis Khan. The Khan's also ruled all of India, and their subsequent descendants built the Taj Mahal. (BTW, Shahrukh Khan, Riz Khan, Yahingir Khan, Jansher Khan are all descendants of the Gengis Khan family.)

You need to understand that the Mongols, or also known as the Moghuls, were of multiple religions. You had the Muslims, the Buddhists, and these Mongolians did actually live in harmony. It wasn't until the days of Kublai Khan when trouble began, as his uncles were too busy fighting each other for territories. Needless to say, Kublai Khan resolved all these issues, and built his Xanadu, in Beijing, known as the Forbidden City today. Yes. Altantuya's ancestor-relatives built the Taj Mahal, and Forbidden City.

Now all this happened BEFORE the birth of Parameswara's great-grandfather. This was the 12th Century. Circa 200 years, right around the time when the Majapahit Kingdom fled, and broke away from the Srivijaya Kingdom. The Majapahit Kingdom then begged China many many times to "recognise, and legalize" their position in Palembang. The vicious Javanese Srivijayan's duly killed the Chinese Emissaries of the Ming, and refused to recognize Majapahit. They had made enemies with the Thais, who were then, under the control of the new Kingdom of Sukkhotai. Yes, Sukkhotai was only formed in the 13th Century. Preciously, Siam were ruled by the Angkorians in the 11th and 12th Century, and subsequently by the Burmese (Bago) from 1558-1773.

Back to the Majapahitans. They even started using and manufacturing their own Chinese coins, known as the Kepeng during the 13th Century. Please remember that the Majapahitans are really Javanese. These Hindus severely oppressed and ruled the gentle Malays of Jambi with an iron thumb. The Malays were innocent Buddhists then. The Hindu Majapahitan Javanese then quashed whatever was left of the Malays, and destroyed most, if not all, of the Malay Buddhist Temples. They all lie in ruins underwater in the Melayu River today. They await Archaeological Excavations, even though they were found more than 12 years ago.

Now this sets the stage for Parameswara. He wanted to kill his own father, because he was greedy, and wanted to be King of Majapahit, and was immediately issued a death warrant by his own father. He then fled to Temasik, where he killed King Tamagi, (who was the Brother of the King of Pattani, then under the rule of Ayodthaya). The port of Patani at that time was one of the busiest and wealthiest ports in the region with trade from China, Japan, Portugal and later on the British, apart from the local traders. The materials on trade were gold, cotton, silk, spices, porcelain and pottery.

Patanni was an excellent Port, situated right in between the Champa Kingdom of Vietnam, and Aceh of Sumatera. Furthermore, Lembah Bujang had been in existence since the 2nd Century, and was considered to be one of the Holiest Hindu sites in Southeast Asia. This was also the oldest Hindu known site in all of SEA. The second oldest would be in My Son (pronounced Mee Senn) in Central Vietnam, of the 3rd Century, under the Champa Empire. Borrobudor (Buddhist) was built n the 6th Century, and Angkor (Hindu), was built in the 8th Century.

All these Kingdoms were constantly flipping between Hinduism, and Buddhism. Depending on the Kings which ruled, their Kingdoms would constantly change from Hinsuism to Buddhism all the time. As such, Prambanan, Chandi Sukkho and Chandi Chetto, and more than 600 Hindu or Buddhist temples were built in Java during the Srivijayan Period alone. The same was true of Angkor. The Kings often hacked the statues of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, or Ganesan, and replaced them Buddha each time the Kings decided to change religions.

Such was the turbulent backdrop against which Malacca was to enter. It is important to note the dominance of the popular Religions, depending on the incoming traders as well. When the Gujerati traders first arrived in the 2nd Century, they were Hindu. When the same Gujerati traders arrived in the 10th Century, many had converted religions already. Champions of Islam were also arriving. Most notably, was Syed Bukhari, who smashed his penis on a stone, so that he would not "think evil thoughts", was one such Champion. The stone where he smashed his penis can still be viewed in Pariaman, West Sumatera. The Mingangkabau's are extremely proud of it, although we do not know anyone who has emulated Syed Bukhari recently.

On the same topic, Zheng He was probably either never circumcised, or perhaps he was "overcircumcised", as he was a Eunuch. I find it extremely strange that so many Chinese Temples are built in his honor, despite him being a Muslim. Regardless, Zheng He probably helped bring Islam into Malacca, along with his 30,000 Military Armada. The Sultan of Brunei, among others went to China to pay respects to the Ming Emperor. All Ming Emperor's names began with "Tzu" (pronounced Chu), so the fairy tale of Hang Li Poh being a Ming Princess doesn't hold water. There are those who claim that Hang Tu Ah translates to "Noble Warrior/ Leader" in the Thai Language. But, that remains to be confirmed.

It is important to note that despite Malacca having all the written records of a Maritime Law, the question of enforcement has never been brought up. The Royal Sampan Armada was never found, nor was there any grave of any Sultan during the classical Malacca Period.

The only one which is highly suspect, is the one found in Fort Canning Hill in Singapore. However, once you know that Parameswara killed the Temasik King, Tamagi, then, it is highly unlikely that the Malaccan Javanese and Bugis migrants would carry the body of Parameswara all the way back to Singapore for burial. The ruling Thai's would have never allowed this to happen. Also having said that, just like the grave of Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kesturi, Hang Lekir, and Hang Lekiu, there was never any names written on their grave (unlike the Acehnese Gravestones). All that was there, was a large stone. So, perhaps it was "Officially designated" as a tourist site, and a subtle claim of "Validation", which turned these unknown graves into the graves of warriors.

Just as the Tourism Malaysia Signage states (at the grave of Hang Tuah) "... This was a large stone, marking a grave, and hence, it must have been an important person. As such, it could have been no other than that of Hang Tuah". You see, this is open admission that no one really even knows whose grave this is. Also, by admission, "All we found was a large stone".

Yet, today, this Alleged Hang Tuah Grave is styled like the Touristy "Hang Graves" found in town near Jonker Street. I also find it extremely ironic that Hang Tuah's grave is situated in Kampong Keling. It is only dutiful of me to note now, that it becomes even more ironic that one can find alleged Soldier and Warrior Graves, but not one single Sultan. Yes. Not one single Sultan's Grave has ever been found.

Nor has there been ever any building, or structure of the Great Malaccan Empire been found either. Not one !! Why is this so? Is the Glory of Malacca a fictitious creation no different from the Mythical "Social Contract" which UMNO raves about?

I now turn your attention to Pulau Besar, situated just off the coast of Malacca. You can reach that place by regular Ferry. Why has this island never been mentioned or offered as proof of Malacca? The island is beautiful !! It boasts a golf course which has changed hands at least 4 times (coz of Bankruptcy), and a magnificent Marina City, which has yet to be launched. Construction completed in 2001. And the white sandy beaches are a joy to sunbathe on. The reason? It is apparently haunted !!

Putting ghost stories aside. This island has more than 1,000 graves !!! Of these thousand graves, two are Muslim Graves. And all the rest are Hindu Graves. Many Indians, Muslims, and Chinese flock to this Island on the weekends to pay homage. The graves are from the Malaccan Period, and yet has never been offered as "Proof". Why?

Because there were only TWO Muslim Graves. It is most interesting to note that people go there to pray for Lottery numbers and such. It is even more interesting to note that the Malaccan Government destroyed 7 graves belonging to 7 Brothers. Who are these 7 brothers? And how important were they to warrant their graves to be destroyed with a Bulldozer by Malaysian Officials? And where are any of the Malaccan Kings?

And why is the only other Cemetery, the one on Bukit China? Why are Hindu, and Chinese Graves the only reminders of this allegedly Great Muslim Empire? Where are the Muslim Graves?

The Muslims do NOT cremate their dead, and throw them into the sea, so, again, and again, I question the validity of any Muslim evidence in Malacca.

I stress that the ONLY item which suggests that there was a Malacca was a solitary coin minted. I wrote about it sometime ago (Click HERE). Even then, the coin only states "Yang Arif", which means "The Smart One".

So either this King had no name, or it was not even a Malaccan coin at all !! Half the guys in town are called Arif today. This does not mean in any way that any of them minted this coin. It is also interesting to note that this coin is called a "pitis". As all of us know, the "Pitis" was a solitary coin ripped off from the Duit Pokok, which was used to be presented to the Siamese Kings. Bank Simpanan Nasional still reminds Malaysians of this tribute paid to Ketuanan Siam, as they still use it as their Logo today.

The other issue is the chronology of events. It was recorded that the Thai's attacked Malacca in 1447, and yet, the battle was fought in Muar. Perhaps, we have all been searching in the wrong place, and the original and REAL Malacca is Muar.

Geographically, the Muar river is far superior to the Malacca River. It is as wide as the Singapore River, and the waters are calm. All maps which we see from the Portuguese, and the Dutch, show present day Malacca. This is easy to understand, if the Portuguese relocated Malacca, from Muar to present day Malacca. This also makes perfect sense, that not one artefact from during the "Zaman Gemilang Malacca" has ever been found.

All we see today, are the 16th and 17th Century buildlings. Namely, the Portuguese "A Famosa" Gate, the Dutch Stadhuys, St Paul's Church, and the Dutch Graves located behind it. The fake Museum replica was only recently built to provide an "imaginary" illusion that there was once a magnificent Malacca in its' present day location. Of course, no one will find anything from the pre-Portuguese days.

Present day Malacca is probably NOT even THE Malacca !!! It is simply just another Kampong Nelayan which the Portuguese took over. Even Kampong Keling, and all the other "supporting Villages" which surround present day Malacca do not have a shred of evidence that any of them existed during the "Zaman Gemilang Malacca".

This is so strange. Any visitor should go see "Zaman Gemilang Portuguese dan Belanda" instead. Malacca is begining to be another "National Embarrassment" soon, if this is not quickly rectified.

Assuming now, that there was indeed a Malacca, (but located in Muar), it is important to understand the state of affairs in and around Southeast Asia. Majapahit was going through tough times. The kings were assassinating each other, and there was Civil War in Java between 1401-1406. During the same period, there were also Multiple Earthquakes, Floods, Tsunami's and severe Drought.

All this took its toll on the warring Majapahit, and Srivijayan Kingdoms. Names such as Bhre Kertabhumi, Kertavijaya, Purvavisesha, Bhre Padan Salas, and so on dominated the scene begining with the assasination of Kertavijaya. All wanted to grab power. Most of Indonesia was divided, and subdivided into really small mirco-Kingdoms, and each was fighting the other for power, and control.

As such, the neighbouring ports benefited from this. Malacca (situated in Muar) was one such Port. It was small, young, and was adequately supplying resources to passing ships. However, things changed for the worse towards the end of the 15th Century. In 1499, Majapahit sent a last-resort plea to China to ask for financial assistance. It had gone bankrupt, and foreign merchants had decided not to stop there anymore. Malacca, and the other Sumatran Sultanates colluded to attack the northern Empires of Java. By 1500, they had suceeded in controlling all of the North of the Java.

The most powerful of this Alliance was the Demak Dynasty. He had 30,000 men, was much stronger than Malacca, and he was Chinese. His name is Cek Kok Po. He later adopted the Javanese name of Raden Patah, when he married his Javanese wife. The second strongest Force was Surabaya. The Portuguese saw this as a great opportunity to advance itself to the Spice Islands. As such, it immediately saw that the Civil Wars going on in Java had completely weakened itself. Perang Saudara was working for the Portuguese. However, this same Perang Saudara was also crippling the export of the much needed spices to the West, and their meats were rotting during the warm months of Summer.

In 1509, the first Royal Portuguese trading expedition commanded by Diego Lopez de Sequiera with a fleet of 18 ships arrives in Malacca hence the first European to arrive here. The locals called the Portuguese `Benggali Putih'. In an argument over the collection of "Malaccan taxes", vs the Portuguese going to the Maluku islands to obtain their own spices resulted in the Portuguese ships being ferociously attacked by Malacca. Most escaped except for 20 prisoners. Thus, hatched the idea of Bludgeoning Malacca to use it's strategic location to attack Java, and thus command the Spice Trade of the West. Thus began all the report speaking good things about Malacca to obtain Military funding for the Expedition to control Java, and Maluku.

Now, the following is what was never taught in schools:

B. W. Diffie and G. D. Winius in the book "Foundations of the Portuguese Empire 1415-1580" wrote: "the capture of Malacca by a mere 900 Portuguese and 200 Indians must rank as an event in the history of European expansion no less stunning than the better known conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernando Cortés". Malacca claimed to have 100,000 fighting men, as was written in Sejarah Melayu (Asal-Usul Raja-Raja). So, either the 100,000 fighting men were utterly useless warriors, or someone was lying about the number. Or, the 900 Portuguese and 200 Indian Warriors had some "special Ketuanan" of sorts

In 1510, Bendahara Tun Mutahir plots to assassinate the Sultan. Sultan Mahmud Shah executes him and his entire family instead. Sultans Ahmad Shah succeeded the throne temporary from his father Sultan Mahmud Shah. Internal strife of Malacca had begun. With more and more ships skipping past Malacca to go and directly obtain their Spices from Maluku, Malacca was left High-and-Dry. Its neighbours were all at war, and despite its contributions to the attack and conquest of North Java, Malacca was left with absolutely no control whatsoever of any territorial land in Java. In essence, Malacca was cheated, and now it was now suffering. The Portuguese obtained the help of Utimutiraja. He was a Javanese Spy who had a beef with Malacca because of the Malaccan role in the vicious attacks on Java. This Javanese Trader brought with him, his 5,000 personal Militia, to assist in conquering Malacca. All these 5,000 Javanese had developed strong hate for Malacca for their role in the destruction of Javanese Trade, and the capture of Northern Java by the Sumaterans. However, Utimutiraja became greedy. Before the Portuguese started to set sail, he decided to be a two-time spy. The Portuguese executed him instead for his "changing of sides". They then sought the help of a local Malaccan Chitty named Nina Chatu. This local rich Chitty then helped the Portuguese obtain information and deliver information for the impending attack. Meanwhile, the Malaccan Sultanate was still squabbling over which part of North Java they were supposed to control. The port was ignored, and all the traders had gone.
This Chitty was very intelligent and smart. He managed to enlist the help of all the traders who were either cheated, or robbed by the Malaccan Sultan, or were disgruntled in some way or another. Thus, the Thais, the Sumatrans, and many Javanese pooled their resources to help the Portuguese. And this was done in record time too. Exactly the following year, the Portuguese return to take over Malacca. Alfonso d' Albuquerque brought his Portuguese fleet, and together with the Thais, the Sumatrans, the Javanese, and a handful of "dan lain-lain" ships attack Malacca on the 10 August 1511, and succeeded.

The Portuguese now had the perfect location from which they could launch strikes against the Javanese who were already so severely weakened, and crippled by their Civil Wars. To add to their problems, the Sumaterans were also constantly attacking the island of Java.

The year is 1628. And the Acehnese ruled Malacca for 8 months. Why was Acehnese Rule never discussed in Malaysian History Books? This was not the first time the Acehnese attacked Malacca. They attacked it in 1537, 1568, 1571, 1582, and terrorized Malacca for the next 60 years. The question is why? Here's the reason. The Portuguese wrote that Malacca was a very important location. This was not from the standpoint of Trade. But this was from the standpoint of a good base to launch attacks on the already weakened Javanese. And why Java? because they were a threat to obtaining "Droga" (Spices in Portuguese) for sale to the entire Western World. Therefore, "He who controls Malacca controls all of Europe" phrase was coined. This was said precisely to obtain the much needed Portuguese Military Funding to launch those attacks. This gamble proved to be correct.

Even before the construction of the A Formosa was completed, the King of Cerebon, King Suliwangi sent 2 Emissaries in 1512, 1nd 1513 to the Portuguese in Malacca to beg for their help. They pleaded with Henrique Leme (Captain, and Ambassador) to help stop the attack of the Cek Kok Poh. The Sultan of Demak from Sumatera. True enough, in 1513, Cek Kok Po, the Chinese Sultan of Demak decides to attack Malacca, as it was a threat to their impending attack on Cerebon. He failed to stop the Portuguese. In gratitutde, the King of Cerebon signed a treaty which allowed the Portuguese of Malacca to build a Defense Fortress and setup a Portuguese settlement in Sunda Kelapa.

Every year, the Pajajaran Kings would then pay the Portuguese 20 tonnes of Pepper for continued protection of North Java. Menawhile, the runaway Older Son of the deposed King of Malacca was volleying continuos attacks on Malacca, in 1518, 1519, and 1523. Each time, he failed. Just for continuity's sake, here is the rest of the Royal Bloodline of Johor. Sultan Mahmud Shah ruled from 1511 to 1528, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah ruled from 1528 to 1564, Sultan Muzaffar Shah ruled from 1564 to 1570, Sultan Jalla Abdul Riayat Shah ruled from 1570 to 1597, Sultan Alauddin ruled from 1597 to 1612, Sultan Abdullah Maayat Shah ruled from 1612 to 1623, Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah II ruled from 1623 to 1677, Sultan Ibrahim ruled from 1677 to 1699

Sultan Mahmud, the ruler of Johor, was a savage and vindictive sadist. He was assassinated in 1699 by a group of nobles, with the killing blow struck by Tun Mergat Seri Rama, whose pregnant wife had been disembowelled at court as a result of Mahmud’s orders. The Bendahara, Abdul Jalil, seizing the opportunity, immediately appointed himself as Sultan. Parameswara's eldest son's Bloodline ends here. The present day Sultanate of Johore, is descended from a completely unrelated Bendahara Line, and has no ties to the Javanese-Parameswara line whatsoever.

The Bendahara, Abdul Jalil took over the throne from 1699 to 1717, Sultan Suleiman Badr Al-Aman Shah ruled from 1722 to 1760, Sultan Abdul Jalil Muazzam ruled on 1760 and Sultan Mahmud ruled from 1761 to 1813, and the rest is history.

Meanwhile, the story continues at Malacca. The Portuguese realized that they could never advance to Java from their Position in Goa. Hence, they chose Malacca as a new camp. Why Malacca? It would have been suicidal to try to take over Aceh, Pasai, or Majapahit, as they were simply too strong and well fortified. Singapore wasn't to be "discovered" for the next 200 years. Plus, it was located smack in the middle of the Pirate-Infested Johore-Riau Islands. Hence, Malacca was chosen.

It was financially weakened, by the Malaccan attacks on North Java, it was in a relatively unprotected part of the Sumatran Straits, and (regardless of whether it was actually in Muar or Johor), it was generally well known to be the weakest of any Ports in the region. Since Malacca was only chosen as a Port from which to launch Military Mission, the real capabilities of Malacca as a trading port became irrelevant. It wasn't long before VOA, (under the Dutch), began to realize the importance of Maluku, and decided to set their sights on Java. The very factors which allowed the Portuguese to conquer Malacca, became their weakness, and they succumbed to the Dutch in 1645.

You see, Malacca was not the great Port it was made out to be. It was a Military location, poised for launching attacks onto Java, and various other parts of Indonesia. It was a Naval Base, of sorts. Not a Trading Post.

All the nice descriptions of Malacca was simply to obtain Military funding. Most important to note, is, there is no evidence of any pre-Portuguese Malacca anywhere to be found. You want a real Location? Try Lembah Bujang instead !!!

Built in the 2nd century, the local Malays were iconic Hindu's, and helped spread Hinduism all over Southeast Asia fro a staggering 1,500 years. This was known as the Golden Hindu Era. Lembah Bujang is a real Empire, built 1,200 years BEFORE Malacca !!

From Lembah Bujang, Hinduism spread to the Kingdom of Champa in the 3rd Century. And then to Borrobudor in the 6th Century, and lastly to Angkor in the 8th Century. The Kingdom of Angkor was destroyed in the 13th century, a full 200 years before Parameswara was even born !! That is the importance of Lembah Bujang.

Lembah Bujang was built during the Chola Expansion, as per mentioned in the Sangam Literatures. It was built during the Rajaraja Chola the 1st's Reign. There have been much speculation that it is from this word that the name Raja Chulan is derived from. The only question is, how does one detect or correct such an error? The Kingdom of Lembah Bujang, would have been part of the Langkasuka Empire, as mentioned in Chinese records. The following name are also attributed to Kedah. They are, Kadar, Kiddara, Kalah, Kalajam, Kataha, and Jiecha. The last Kedah Empire is dated from 1201, which obviously pre-dates Malacca. There has been speculation that they occupied Malacca at that time. The Kedah Annals will be a good resource for this.

The following map shows the two sections of the Chola Empire. The Grey-Colored area was under direct Chola control, while the Dark Pink-Colored area shows suzerainty. However, no surviving records detail enough about the Pink Areas.

The Cholas were also responsible for bringing the initial wave of Hinduism into Southeast Asia. We know that it was the Assam Indians who directly brought it into Bagan, Mrauk U, Bago, Inthein, in Burma, and was subsequently passed on to Thailand via the Lanna Kingdom at Chiang Mai.

Tome Pires, the author of the Summa Oriental written between 1512 and 1515, commented on the stranglehold which the Gujarati traders had on the textile trade.

We have learned much of the origins of the Indian trade textiles in pre European times from the excavations at Fustat, a town south of Cairo which was traditionally known as old Cairo and which was connected by a canal to the Red Sea.

Excavations at Fustat have revealed Gujarati resist textiles with patterns identical to those which have been discovered in recent times in Indonesia. Most of these textiles have been done with blocks, although there is some evidence of some hand drawn pieces. The age of these textiles should come at no surprise since cotton has been used in India for at least 3,000 years and fragments have been found at the Indus Valley sites of Mohenjo Dharo etc referable to the 2nd century BC. Mohenjo Dharo is of course geographically close to the area what is now modern day Gujarat.

Other Kingdoms in the Southeast Asian region in the 1st-6th Century were:

Lin Yi (Champa), Dunsun, Chitu, Kiu Li, Barus, Ko-Ying, Si Tiao, Poli (Bali), Pu-Lo-Chung, Chu Po, Kutei, Pan Pan, Kantoli, Holotan, Tolomo, Holing (Chopo), and a few other scattered micro Kingdoms. All these existed a thousand years before Parameswara fled for his life to Muar.

Short of Perak Man from 10,000 years ago, and Niah Caves from 40,000 years ago, nothing else compares to the age of Lembah Bujang !! But using Perak Man, or Niah Man would be opening an entirely new can of worms, because they were both Negritos, hence, fortifying the Orang Asli's position as the one and true Bumiputras of Malaysia.

I rest my case.

John Doe

From the blogger owner:
A Fantastic piece of Research by Mr Joe Doe

Friday, 4 June 2010

Liverpool fans turn ire on managing director in demonstration at Rafael Benitez's exit

Liverpool supporters turned their ire on the club’s managing director Christian Purslow on Thursday night as more than 500 demonstrated at Anfield, calling for his dismissal and burning American flags, a direct message to his employers Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The spontaneous demonstration, organised through internet forums, Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of reports on Wednesday that manager Rafael Benitez was close to leaving the club “by mutual consent,” began outside the Kop at 6pm.

Organisers insisted the aim of the protest was not to safeguard Benitez’s job, but to indicate to Hicks and Gillett, who have laden Liverpool with £351 million of debt, that no decision of theirs as the club’s owners will be welcomed

Paul Rice, of the supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly, said: “This is another example of how this club has become the biggest farce in town. In a sense, Benitez is just collateral damage. When you look at Liverpool in a general manner, who will want to take the club on?”

The roles of both Purslow and chairman Martin Broughton in the dismissal of Benitez has concerned Liverpool fans.

Both men were ostensibly brought in to secure investment in the club, but Purslow remains in situ almost a year on, while Broughton’s initial remit was a non-executive one, and he has made it clear he is not involved in the day-to-day running of the club, yet it was his name which appeared on the statement which confirmed the Spaniard’s departure.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Public should support measures to reduce subsidies

The Consumers Association of Penang supports the government's initiative to reduce its subsidy bill of RM74 billion in 2009, which is more than its development expenditure of RM51.2 billion in 2010.

Of concern here is the long term survival of the country. If we do not act now to reduce this massive bill, we will pay dearly for it in the near future. Subsidies should therefore only continue to be available to the needy.

However the aim of the removal of subsidies should not be solely to reduce the budget deficit. Removal of subsidies should be part of a comprehensive plan on national financial management whereby eliminating wastage and corruption also plays equally important roles.

Below are our suggestions on how the subsidy bill can be reduced.

a) Fuel (Petrol, gas LPG electricity): RM23.5 billion

There should be full withdrawal of the fuel subsidy (except for a small targeted group), saving the nation at one swoop about RM23 billion

Fuel is a depleting resource and only when it is charged at market price will consumers as well as industries be careful about their use of fuel. When our oil and gas runs out we will be in serious trouble since the sector contributes to more than half of the government's revenue It is estimated that by 2015 Malaysia will be a net importer of fuel.
With higher fuel prices, industries will seek ways to reduce energy costs (presently many are using gas in the factories because it is highly subsidized). Consumers will think twice about using their cars and may turn to public transport. Those with luxury cars will no longer be subsidized for their petrol consumption. Since fare prices may rise, those in the lower income group should be given discounts when traveling on public transport.

Our stand on fuel subsidy is not new. We had in our 2006 Budget memorandum to the Ministry of Finance asked that the subsidy for petrol be withdrawn.

b) Social (health, welfare. education, scholarships): RM42.4 billion

Scholarships: Overseas scholarships should given only to post-graduate students, not undergraduates. Undergraduates can get their degrees from the local private and government universities. After all foreigners are coming to Malaysia to get their first degree.

Health: The hospital fees introduced in the 1970s should be increased. The RM1 outpatient fee can be increased to RM5 and that of the Consultant's fee be increased form RM5 to RM10. With an estimated 8 million outpatients ( 7 million in 2003) , the government will be at least able to collect RM32 million when the fee is increased by RM4

Third-class ward fees should remain nominal, and that of the second and first class should be increased.

c) Infrastructure (toll, rural air, rail): RM4.7 billion

Toll: Compensation paid to PLUS was RM813 million compared to RM171 million in 2005. Between 2005 and 2009 the compensation to the North-South operator was RM3.06 billion. This practice of compensating toll operators so that they do not to raise the toll charges has to stop..

Highway users are being ripped off by the toll operators. A company that proposed to takeover all the toll highways has claimed that it can give an immediate 20% discount on existing toll rates and no further toll increases.

d) Food (cooking oil, sugar, flour, rice) and agriculture: RM3.4 billion

Sugar: Sugar subsidy which is expected to cost the government an about RM1 billion this year should be scrapped. The RM1 billion does not reflect the true cost of subsidising the sugar price. This is because sugar consumption can lead to many health problems. Chronic diseases like diabetes needs long term medication and is a drain on government healthcare. Therefore making sugar expensive will also help to reduce the government's subsidy on health care.

If the above suggestions are implemented, the government can save RM26 billion or more.

Removal or reduction of subsidies means that the public will have to pay higher prices for goods and services. It is not fair to that they have to tighten their belts when the authorities continue be wasting taxpayer's money. People cannot be expected to make sacrifices whilst the federal and stage government lose billions every year through their over-priced contracts. Government losses has been estimated to between RM14 billion and RM28 billion a year. These problems have been repeatedly highlighted in the Auditor-General reports and repeatedly ignored by the authorities.

We suggest that the government should show good faith by for example:

•Consistently take action (in the court or otherwise) against those who have caused unreasonable loss of taxpayer's money;

•Cut down inefficiency and over staffing of its departments;

•Plug the gaps in its purchasing system so that the public get value for their money;

•Stop all unnecessary government procurement for example to carry out cosmetic renovations;

•Stop the allocations to Members of Parliament. They are not necessary since most of the projects can be carried out by the relevant federal or stage agencies. These allocations are also subject to abuse. The MPs role should be to oversee that the projects are carried out properly.

•All departments should be given a target to reduce their annual expenditure. The head of the departments which failed to meet the target should be hauled up to explain their failure to do so.

Though the public should support the government's move to remove and reduce subsidies, government on its part must be seen to be seriously acting against corruption and wastage.

The writer is president, Consumers Association of Penang.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Are Rafa Benitez's side the worst Liverpool team in 50 years?

Bert Slater, Alan Jones, Ronnie Moran, Johnny Wheeler, Dick White, Robert Campbell, Fred Morris, Roger Hunt, Dave Hickson, Jimmy Melia, Alan A' Court. That was the largely undistinguished Liverpool line-up in a Division Two game at Anfield on December 12 1959 as Cardiff City thrashed the hosts 4-0 in Bill Shankly's first game in charge.

"Shankly has never been afraid of hard work as a manager. I fear he's going to get plenty of it within the next few months," sniffed the local News Chronicle. And he did. Inside four seasons Liverpool were Division One champions, with only Moran and Hunt still featuring from the side which lost so heavily to the Bluebirds.

Liverpool have won 39 major trophies since that Cardiff defeat, so it's been fair to call Shankly's first team the worst Liverpool side in half a century. Until, perhaps, last night, when a shapeless and spineless outfit almost entirely bought by Rafa Benitez slumped out of the FA Cup in disgrace, outplayed on their own ground in only the third round by a team lying fourth bottom of the Championship, with a caretaker manager at the helm.

Diego Cavalieri, Philipp Degen, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Emiliano Insua, Alberto Aquilani, Lucas Leiva, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel, Yossi Benyaoun, David Ngog. Let's give the team which finished the 90 minutes against Reading some credit and say they are unquestionably stronger than the Shankly side which lost to Cardiff. But even with the addition of crocks Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson, plus the suspended Javier Mascherano and rested Martin Skrtel and Pepe Reina, Benitez's current squad has the same disjointed, disappointing feel as the outfits which got Graeme Souness, Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier the sack in 1994, 1998 and 2004 respectively. Could this really be the worst Liverpool side in 50 years? Let's look at the evidence


Benitez '10: Reina. Arguably the best all-round keeper in the Premier League and Liverpool's most reliable since Ray Clemence.

Houllier '04: Dudek. Good keeper and one of the heroes of Istanbul, but offered no more than the hastily-dispatched Brad Friedel or James.

Evans '98: James. Had all the attributes - and still does - but occasionally and famously shaky in front of an unconvincing back four.

Souness '94: Grobbelaar. In his mid-30s and more error-prone than ever, the Zimbabwean was a liability and was quickly replaced by David James once Evans replaced Souey.

Ratings (best-to-worst): Benitez 1, Houllier 2=, Evans 2=, Souness 4


Benitez '10: Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson. One full-back is ageing, the other is over-adventurous and the unit struggles with the zonal marking from set pieces which Manchester City's much-maligned defence has settled into so quickly under Roberto Mancini. But could improve.

Houllier '04: Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise. Fifteen clean sheets in the league and another 12 games in which they conceded only once. But not wholly convincing because of the full-backs.

Evans '98: Jones, Babb, Matteo, Bjornebye. A botch job whose decent mid-season work was undone by a run of 22 conceded in 11 crucial games (with no clean sheets and only three wins) from the end of January to the start of May.

Souness '94: Jones, Dicks, Wright, Ruddock. So much wasted potential here and you have to wonder what would have happened had Ruddock and Dicks been choirboys rather than Spice Boys. As it was a unit also comprising the classy Rob Jones and Mark Wright looked better on paper than on grass, recording only seven clean sheets in 26 league games before Souey's departure.

Ratings (best-to-worst): Houllier 1, Benitez 2, Souness 3, Evans 4


Benitez '10: Mascherano, Gerrard, Aquilani, Benayoun. Not many would swap the first two but lookalikes Aquilani and Benayoun are struggling.

Houllier '04: Gerrard, Hamman, Murphy, Kewell. Solid but, Gerrard aside, unspectacular four which was overhauled by Benitez with the additions of Alonso and Garcia.

Evans '98: McManaman, Ince, Leonhardsen, Redknapp. Easy to spot the odd man out here as the plodding Norwegian undermined an otherwise effective unit.

Souness '94: Barnes, Redknapp, Clough, McManaman. With Barnes' powers in decline and McManaman's yet to fully bloom, this was a stylish unit albeit one whose lack of steel often exposed the defence.

Ratings (best-to-worst): Evans 1, Houllier 2=, Benitez 2=, Souness 4


Benitez '10: Torres, Kuyt. Among current Premier League strikers only Rooney and Drogba deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Torres, but Kuyt (who we've played upfront here to allow Gerrard to move back to the midfield) is in the worst form of his Liverpool career and is not being pushed by Benitez's buys. The arrival of Maxi Rodriguez should help.

Houllier '04: Owen, Heskey. Just 23 goals between them over the season despite missing only an average of 5.5 games apiece means more flattery to deceive from an Anfield front two.

Evans '98: Owen, Fowler. Scored 27 goals between them and it would have been 40 had Fowler not begun to struggle with injury.

Souness '94: Fowler, Rush. Finished Fowler's first season with 26 goals between them but again, the mix of advancing age and inexperience means this partnership was better in theory than in practice.

Ratings (best-to-worst): Evans 1, Souness 2, Benitez 3, Houllier 4


Benitez '10: Lucas, Insua, Ngog, Babel, Degen. Arguably Liverpool's weakest bench in memory - and all expensively acquired by Benitez.

Houllier '04: Henchoz, Biscan, Baros, Diouf, Smicer. Relatively strong second-string who all played important bit-parts through the season.

Evans '98: McAteer, Riedele, Carragher, Berger, Murphy. Solid and largely local supporting cast.

Souness '94: Molby, Walters, Nicol, Stewart, Bjornebye. A confusing combination of greats coming to the end and misfiring buys.

Ratings (best-to-worst): Evans 1, Houllier 2, Souness 3, Benitez 4

Verdict: Souness' still is the worst Liverpool side since the dawn of Shanks... but Benitez is running him close. Evans just has the edge on former co-manager Houllier.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

From the Magnificent Magyars to Bob Paisley's Liverpool: the definitive Top 10 Golden Generations

By Richard Aikman in Daily Mirror Football

With Nicky Butt pondering retirement at the end of the season is it the beginning of the end for Fergie's Fledglings - the famous team of 'kids' including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers who came through the Manchester United academy together to reach the very top of the game.

There were indeed a top team, but where do they rank in MirrorFootball 's list of golden generations?

10) West Ham United (1998-2002)

If West Ham had managed to hold onto the youth team graduates that emerged at the turn of the century it's unlikely they would be languishing near the nether regions of the Premier League - and neither would Chelsea's blue flag be flying so high. Tony Carr's miracle work with the youth academy brought us Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe to name but six. On the plus side, at least England have benefited.

9) Portugal (2000-04)

Portugal first gave notice of being a promising side in the making when winning consecutive World Youth Championships in 1989 and 1991. Not since the days of Eusebio had the Iberian outfit shown a glimmer of golden promise but first Joao Pinto, Paolo Sousa and Fernando Couto, and then Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Abel Xavier emerged as stars of the future. These rising stars came of age at Euro 2000, Figo scoring a glorious long shot in the 3-2 comeback win over England before agonising defeat to France in the semi-final. Four years on and they got even closer - beating England on penalties on the way to losing the final on home soil to Greece. Deco, Figo, Rui Costa, Maniche and a 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo could only rue a glorious chance to make history.

8) Arsenal (1989-94)

Arsenal had not won the League Championship for 18 years before that goal by Michael Thomas clinched their dramatic title win in 1989. But while the Gunners did not boast the same depth of quality as the Liverpool side they beat on that memorable night at Anfield, theirs was a victory very much forged in the stables of north London. Defender David O'Leary, by now 31 years old, had risen through the Arsenal ranks but it was the new generation of younger pupils, initially blooded by Don Howe and then deployed by George Graham when winning the 1987 Littlewoods Cup, who graduated on that famous night. Tony Adams, at 22, was the club's youngest ever captain, David Rocastle, also 22, a tricky midfielder while forwards Paul Merson, 21, and Martin Hayes, 23, also came off the Highbury assembly line. Home-grown stars Paul Davis and Niall Quinn also contributed significantly to a season that paved the way for the 1991 title, the 1993 Cup double and 1994 Cup-Winners' Cup success.

7) Holland (1974-1978)

The Dutch side that won the 1988 European Championship was a remarkable collection of players but it is the 1970s vintage which is regarded with most fondness by followers of the beautiful game. Personified by Johan Cruyff , one of the most naturally gifted players to have ever laced on a pair of boots, the Oranje played what became known as Totaalvoetbal or Total Football - first devised at Ajax, under Rinus Michels. The Amsterdam side won three consecutive European Cups playing that way and their style translated perfectly to the international stage as Holland's Ajax academy of Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Ruudi Krol, Johnny Rep et al, under Michels, reached the 1974 World Cup final playing free-flowing, attacking football and bemusing opponents by interchanging positions. Even without Cruyff four years later Holland reached another World Cup final, only to lose controversially to Argentina. They were losers but - unlike the Argies - honourable, glorious losers.

6) Italy (1934-1938)

The Azzurri were world champions for 16 years after winning the Jules Rimet trophy back to back in the 1930s. Much has been made of the fact that they won the first of their four titles on home soil at a time when fully-fledged dictator Benito Mussolini was running the country, but in fact it was Vittorio Pozzo's firm leadership and a side including Oriundi (naturalised South Americans) that reaped the rewards. Pozzo, who had learned his football while working in Manchester, axed two team captains in the build-up to the 1934 event before masterminding victories over Spain and a very strong Austria side. Legendary strikers Giuseppe Meazza and Angelo Schiavio were instrumental in the Azzurri's first success while Meazza also starred in the second, in France, scoring the winner in their surprise semi-final triumph over Brazil. Italy had to do it the hard way by defeating the hosts, Brazil and Hungary - but Silvio Piola established the Italians as the pre-war force in world football, scoring two of the 30 goals he managed in 34 appearances for his country - in the 4-2 win over the Magyars.

5) Hungary (1950-1956)

Known in their homeland as Aranycsapat - 'the Golden Team' - Hungary captured the imagination of the football world as they went unbeaten, with the exception of the 1954 World Cup final, for 50 matches during the 1950s. Their 43 wins were based on the dynamic and potent quartet of strikers Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis, attacking half-back Jozsef Bozsik and withdrawn striker Nandor Hidegkuti. The Hungarians' 3–2 loss to West Germany in the 1954 World Cup final was particularly galling considering they had beaten them 8–3 earlier in the competition. They threw away a 2-0 lead in Berne, had Puskas' 89th-minute equaliser ruled out and were denied a last-minute penalty. The Magnificent Magyars did win Olympic gold in 1952 but the fact is they were world beaters in all but name.

4) Manchester United (1999)

Sir Alex would have been plain old Mr Ferguson had he not benefited from the blind faith of the Manchester United board in the late 1980s, but the Old Trafford suits' patience was rewarded in the late 1990s - not least in 1999 when the Red Devils pulled off an unprecedented Treble of League, FA Cup and European Cup . Ferguson bought wisely when drafting in tough customers such as Jaap Stam, Peter Schmeichel and Roy Keane but these signings complemented a raft of young players who had worked their way through the academy together. Paul Scholes missed the final but had been a major influence in United's Premier League dominance while Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Gary and Phil Neville all helped transform Fergie's Fledglings into major players.

3) Brazil (1970)

The Selecao have had countless sides to purr over, but Mario Zagallo's men were a sight to behold in Mexico. Zagallo, who had won two World Cups as a player, in 1958 and 1962, became the first coach to win the Jules Rimet trophy as both coach and player. But to be honest, you or MirrorFootball could have coached this side. Pele was the inspiration, but this team was not about Viagara's most renowned ambassador alone. Rivelino, Tostao and Gerson were a wonderful breed and it is often overlooked that Jairzinho scored in every match, including the final, when Italy were dismembered to the tune of four goals to one. Football has never looked so effortless or teamwork so seamless as when Carlos Alberto famously rifled in the last goal past Enrico Albertosi four minutes from time.

2) France (1998-2000)

Many Premier League observers believed that Aime Jacquet was mad not to recall Eric Cantona to the France side once he had served his nine-month ban for playing football with a Crystal Palace fan's head. But when France stormed to victory at both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 it seemed Mr Jacquet didn't need to get his coat after all. The team that triumphed at France 98 was built around the genius of Zinedine Zidane, the peerless defending of Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram and the water-carrying efficiency of Didier Deschamps. Two years on and Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and David Trezeguet emerged to add pace, strength, firepower and the Henri Delaunay Trophy to their armoury.

1) Liverpool (1980-1985)

Bob Paisley's side of the 1970s was a force to be reckoned with, winning the league four times in five years at the end of the decade and clinching their first two European Cups in 1977 and 1978. But the Reds' side that won five titles and two European crowns in six years at the start of the 1980s was arguably the better team. Terry McDermott (1980), Kenny Dalglish (1983) and Ian Rush (1984) were each voted Footballer of the Year as Paisley and then Joe Fagan, continued to build on the foundations laid down by Bill Shankly. With the experienced, tenacious Graeme Souness in the engine room, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson at the heart of defence, and Dalglish and Rush up front, this was a side that could play football from the back, score goals from anywhere and win trophies galore - which they did .

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Jamie Carragher: The one-club defender who has lived and breathed Liverpool

AT lunchtime on Saturday, Jamie Carragher is scheduled to play his 600th game for Liverpool at Portsmouth. Sportsmail's Andy Townsend and four of Anfield's big names pay tribute to the remarkable one-club defender who has lived and breathed Liverpool since he was nine years old.

RAFA BENITEZ'TO BE at one club for such a long time and to play 600 games is absolutely amazing and shows the passion and commitment.
'Before I came here, I watched a lot of games and was analysing

'He wanted to be a central defender and he was keen to learn; you can see that he has improved and improved every single year. He is a top professional.

'That is the difference between him and other players. Some have different qualities but he analyses, he reads the games well and he can adapt to different situations.
'It can be difficult for defenders to get recognition. For strikers and midfielders, it is easy because everyone can see their goals. With defenders, you tend to see only own goals and mistakes getting highlighted.

'But, during the time I have been here, Carra has done really well. He is one of the best defenders in England.'


MY FIRST real memory of Carra was in the team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1996. He was a great character. With that voice you could hear him a mile away. It was extra special for me and Robbie Fowler to see him come through as it was another good young local lad.

'Over my period in the team, he must have played in four or five different positions but his attitude was impeccable.

'He was always eager to learn but, equally, Carra was never afraid to mix it with the older lads and he would put himself about in training - people always talk about his tackling.

'To get to 600 games in this day and age is an outstanding achievement; it shows how well he has looked after himself and why he has been at the top of his profession for such a long time - that he can still play three times a week is a testament to his ability


HE'S a fearsome competitor, and was always a hard worker from a young age. There were other players blessed with more talent and Jamie had to work for it. Although he started in the first team at 18 or 19 it's amazing that he's reached 600 games.

'When I went to the club he was playing right back, left back, centre midfield, anywhere he could get a game.

'After Rafael Benitez took over he transformed Jamie into one of the best centre backs in the Premier League. Benitez took his game to another level, and there haven't been too many better centre halves in England during his career.
'You soon realised how much the club meant to him


'WHEN I was coaching the strikers at the club under Gerard Houllier, I used to see Carra. He's a great basic defender who doesn't do any fancy stuff. His commitment is second to none.

'You don't get many defenders idolised by Liverpool supporters but he is. He'll throw his body in anywhere to stop the opposition and, if the ball needs to go into the stands, he'll put it in the stands.

'There's just so many defenders in the Premier League who cannot defend. They have plenty of skill on the ball but they cannot defend.

'Carragher's one of the oldfashioned ones. You need a mixture of both. Don't forget, he started out as a striker at Liverpool!

'But the move from right back to central defence a few years ago was great for him. At centre back, he is fantastic. He's one of the greatest defenders Liverpool have ever had.'


HE made his full debut against Aston Villa when I was there and I think the impression he made on me is best described as a vicious assault!

'He walloped me six feet up in the air in a game Liverpool won 3-0 at Anfield. What you always recognised when you played against him was that he was a genuine competitor. If you conjure an image of him it is not of someone gliding along majestically, it is of someone with his hands on his hips gasping for his last breath and then lunging into a tackle to deny a goalscoring opportunity.

'He has not been the most cultured or skilful centre half, far from it, but in terms of effort there have been very few as giving as him.

'But Carragher is as good a club player as you will find and I have long admired his attitude.'He has lived the dream for many Liverpool lads, and he deserves all the credit he gets.'

The Carragher file

Date of birth: January 28, 1978.

First game: Middlesbrough (a) January 8, 1997; lost 2-1 League Cup.

First goal:Aston Villa (h) January 18, 1997; won 3-0.

Liverpool career: 599 games (578 starts), 52,094 minutes on pitch,
7 goals, 4 own goals, 73 yellow cards, 3 red cards.

Honours: FA Cup 2001, 2006; League Cup 2001, 2003; Community Shield 2001, 2006;
UEFA Cup 2001; Champions League 2005; Super Cup 2001, 2005;
FA Youth Cup 1996.

England honours: 34 caps (27 Under 21 caps).

Did you know?: Liverpool have kept clean sheets on
Carragher's 100th, 200th,300th, 400th and 500th appearances.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Liverpool still labour in the shadow of Bill Shankly

In the tapes he made with John Roberts for his autobiography, Bill Shankly's voice suddenly leaps to great oratorical heights when the talk moves round to the abject state Liverpool were in when he joined in 1959. The exchange would haunt the Kop as they gather to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Shankly's arrival during tonight's home game against Wigan.

"The facilities weren't good enough for the public of Liverpool," Shankly starts. "The ground wasn't good enough for the public of Liverpool. The team wasn't good enough for the public of Liverpool. And there was nothing good enough for the public of Liverpool. Nothing at all. There was only potential. But I knew the people of Liverpool were like the people where I come from. They've got fervour in them – and they've got pride."

Skin-tingling rhetoric has not been a feature of the Rafael Benítez era. Nor could a Spaniard working in England in the mass-media age hope to match Shankly's mastery of comedy. But there is plenty in the diagnosis from 1959 to stir uncomfortable thoughts in the Anfield crowd after a run of three wins in 15 games. No new stadium in sight; a team not good enough to survive the Champions League group stage or penetrate the Premier League's top six; no obvious "potential" if corporate debt keeps bearing down and the summer brings an exodus of stars.

At least boardroom conflict spans all five decades. In his recently republished memoirs Liverpool's spiritual father remarks that the directors' room where he had to fight for funds was so dark and gloomy that he called it "the morgue". He told Jimmy Melia in there: "Watch you don't trip over the coffins."

Benítez, who adopts the posture in press conferences of a captured airman being interrogated by the enemy, is not devoid of wit. When the Guardian was interviewing Jamie Carragher at the club's Melwood training ground, Benítez breezed past and called to his defender, "English lessons?" ‑ a joke aimed at the defender's deep Scouse accent.

Levity, though, is in shorter supply on Merseyside this week than Manchester United bedspreads. Liverpool have lost as many games this season (10) as they have won and tonight's Shankly retrospective will intensify the spotlight on Benítez, especially as Ian St John, an idol of the 60s, said after Sunday's home defeat to Arsenal: "Don't ask what Shanks would have made of it. I dread to think, and the timing of it makes me feel even more sad." Graeme Souness, another Anfield aristocrat, had claimed his alma mater were heading for "meltdown".

Nostalgia's balm will doubtless soothe the congregation when nine Shankly family members and 15 players from his pomp (1959-1974) parade on the pitch at half-time and a mosaic evokes a time when the man from the mines of Glenbuck spotted special virtues in the Liverpudlian identity. Socialism, loyalty, unity and sober endeavour were the principles Shankly harnessed when he arrived to find Melwood "a wilderness" where "there were hills, there were hollows, there were trees, there was long grass", and where a passive acceptance of mediocrity was the norm until a change in culture provided the money to buy Ron Yeats and St John.

Older Kopites will recall a day mentioned by Kevin Keegan in his autobiography: "I'll never forget the game soon after he [Shankly] had retired when he turned up at Anfield and stood with his beloved fans in the Kop. The first we players knew about it was when we heard the swelling chant from the supporters, 'Shankly, Shankly, here he is, here he is'."

Keegan's hero broke through with the league winning sides of 1964 and 1966. The next wave won the 1973 title and the FA Cup in his final year, with Tommy Smith, Emlyn Hughes, Keegan and Steve Heighway. Since he walked into his own wilderness of aimlessness and regret 35 years ago, when pathos splashed the script, Liverpool have been led by three Boot Room graduates (Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Roy Evans), two Anfield superstars (Kenny Dalglish and Souness) and two A-list European coaches who imported French (Gérard Houllier) and then Spanish cultures.

Each has been viewed inevitably as an inheritor of the Shankly tradition. The name is kept alive, too, by political resistance. The movement against the US owner-speculators, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, marches under the "Spirit of Shankly" banner, and the most emotive landmarks at the stadium, after the Hillsborough memorial, are the Shankly Gates and statue, which bears the epitaph: "He made the people happy."

This is the challenge all Liverpool managers are landed with: to be a brilliant comedian, statesman, team-builder and moral patriarch. Tommy Smith remembers Shankly rejecting a player after he had tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease during his medical. "I'm not having a philanderer here," he erupted. "This is a family club. Send him back."

The ultimate accolade is to be compared favourably to Shankly. The stamp of doom is to be dismissed as a vandal to his legacy. The cult is explained by Brian Reade in 43 Years With the Same Bird – A Liverpudlian Love Affair. Reade writes of Shankly: "In the lean years we stood by him, refusing to doubt that he would turn things around. In the early Seventies, when the trophies came flooding back, we ditched mere adoration and worshipped him like a pagan god. He started something unique in football: the manager as idol. A tradition Liverpool fans respect to this day under Benítez [the book was published in 2008].

"Look at the huge liver bird flag that spreads across the Kop shortly before every kick-off and you'll see, down either side of it, not drawings of the greatest strikers over the years, but the managers. Listen to the songs sung about Benítez, as they were about Houllier, and you will hear a crowd reaching out to its leader, demanding a communion between the dug-out and the stands. It's a cry to be loved, a request for the man who holds the club's destiny in his hands to recognise his flock. And it dates directly back to Shankly. Imagine how that must have felt for Houllier and Benítez." St John wrote: "Shankly once said that his power over the fans made him feel like Chairman Mao."

Loyalty ingrained 50 years ago has bought Benítez and Houllier precious time, but today's Liverpool side have already endured as many Premier League defeats (six in 16 outings) as they did in the previous two campaigns combined. Shankly built the club from the bottom up. Under Benítez, Liverpool are cracking from the top down. Shankly's shadow falls across him, as it will the next man in.