BRAD JONES will be cast in an unforgiving spotlight tomorrow.
It’s one which another goalkeeper, across the park, endured in another Wembley showpiece 26 years ago.
Bobby Mimms didn’t put a foot wrong when he tried to fill the enormous hole vacated by the legendary Neville Southall, who had stepped into a furrow on a vegetable patch masquerading as an international football pitch and broken his ankle.
The stand-in kept six successive clean sheets in the league, successfully negotiated an FA Cup semi-final and was not responsible for any of the goals conceded in the FA Cup final against Liverpool.
But because Everton lost, because he wasn’t Neville Southall, he was still held to be in some indiscernible way to be culpable. He was later christened Booby Mimms, while Evertonians have often wondered ‘what if?’
Brad Jones has the opportunity to become an unlikely Wembley hero, in much the same way that Nigel Spink did in a European Cup final for Aston Villa, and Chris Woods did for Nottingham Forest, turning out in a League Cup final before he had even made his league debut.
Or will he endure the mutterings that “Pepe would have saved that”, just like Mimms heard in 1986?
Such is a goalkeeper’s lot...