Bradley Scott Jones is Liverpool Football Clubs 3rd choice goalkeeper, who after Tuesday evenings red card for Alexander Doni at Blackburn looks likely to be catapulted toward the starting line-up for their upcoming F.A. Cup semi-final against City rivals Everton.
After a less than inspiring, if incident packed Premier League debut Liverpool’s £2.3 million pound purchase now finds himself thrust into a game that days ago he could only dream about, and the boyhood ambition of playing at Wembley fulfilled.
Making your first team debut for any club can be a nerve-racking experience, but the circumstances that the Australian found himself tasked with were by no means conventional – gloves on, boots laced and prepare to save a penalty son with your team having just been reduced to 10 men, oh and add to that playing for one of the World’s greatest footballing institutions and maybe you can slightly begin to comprehend the clearly nerve-racking experience it must have been.
This week has been not only been a fantastic week in footballing terms, with Jones saving the Blackburn penalty and then giving away a penalty himself after a mistake, and gifting Yakubu the opportunity to equalise, which he duly would take.
It would be extra special that Liverpool supporters would get the opportunity to welcome their new hero toward the very goal they were congregated behind, that goal which Jones would save a penalty with his first touch, fairy-tale complete.
Born in Perth, Western Australia, his dalliance with English football would see him spent a decade with Middlesbrough, which would include having a number of loan spells with many lower league clubs. Roy Hodgson would make Jones one of his signings during his ill-fated managerial term with the reds splashing out £2.3 million in March 2011 when purchasing him from Middlesbrough. Soon after Liverpool would loan their new recruit to Championship side Derby.
His manager at Derby; former red Nigel Clough would publicly criticise the stopper when an early mistake against Bristol City would add to a 2-0 defeat for Clough’s rams, and Brad Jones would soon after return to Anfield. The Jones family would however have a greater battle ahead.
On the 18th November 2011 Brad Jones would face up to every parent’s worst nightmare when his five year old son Luca would lose his brave year-long battle against leukaemia, and an unbreakable bond with the Liverpool fans would be set in motion, this is a club that understands grief like no other, with many having buried children of their own, a kinship and an empathy would result in those supporters having an infinity with Brad and his partner Dani.
Jones would point to the heavens when saving his penalty, and those very fans would know exactly who Brad was acknowledging
This week has become even more important to Brad Jones and his family with girlfriend Dani Lawrence giving birth to the couple’s new addition, son Nico Luca Jones.
Brad commented after the team’s victory over Blackburn Rovers-
“It’s been a difficult 18 months and the result was thanks to the fans for their support. With the birth of my son, Nico, on Wednesday, this has now been a good week”.
Bill Shankly would suggest that football was more important than life or death, but my guess would be that neither Brad Jones or his girlfriend Dani would agree with such sentiment, but when Brad steps out on the hallowed Wembley turf this Saturday with sounds of the sweet silver song of the lark and you’ll never walk alone ringing in his ears, he will once again raise his eyes to the sky in knowledge that he is not alone, with little Luca holding a Liverpool scarf above his head and singing along….WALK ON DADDY WALK ON.
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