How the support of the fans, the pursuit of happiness and a chat with McCarthy convinced Judge to sign new Ipswich deal
PUBLISHED: 16:27 05 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Alan Judge has targeted an instant return to the Championship after signing a new two-year contract at Ipswich Town.
The Irishman, an instant hit since his arrival from Brentford in January, has committed his future to the Blues by putting pen to paper on a deal until the summer of 2021, with the club holding an option to extend that by a further year.
Ipswich could be relegated to League One as soon Wednesday, when they face Judge’s former club at Griffin Park, but the 30-year-old is excited to be a part of Paul Lambert’s Portman Road rebuild.
“I’m delighted because I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I’m looking forward to moving my family here and getting settled,” he said.
“Playing football is what’s most important to me. I know this season hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to but I want to be part of something to hopefully get the team back up.
“I spoke to the manager who said that sometimes you have to go back to go forwards and I also spoke to (Republic of Ireland manager) Mick McCarthy, who said it wouldn’t impact my Irish chances really as long as I was playing well. He said I should be getting picked so all my boxes were ticked really.
Judge revealed the positive atmosphere around the club and the support of the Ipswich fans played a big part in convincing him to sign.
“I was welcomed here straightaway and I felt at home,” he said.
“Some would ask why I would want to sign for a team bottom of the league but for me it’s about playing and being happy with what I’m doing.
“I’m very happy at the moment.
“Coming into work and being happy is important,” he continued.
“Obviously we’re not happy with what’s happened in the league but every day the lads come in and don’t let it get to them.
“I think that will stand us in good stead for next year.
“We’re bottom of the league and I’ve been in that situation before and you have fans who turn on you. They don’t mean to turn on you but they are just fed up with what you’re seeing.
“I don’t think the fans are like that here and that’s massive for us. It would be great to have the stadium full going into next year.”
Lambert’s bid to rebuild the club will centre around the Blues’ academy products, with Judge hoping to pass on the benefit of his experience in the game.
“I knew myself, coming through as a young lad at Blackburn, that it was really helpful to have the senior pros with you,” he said.
“If any of the young lads here want advice then hopefully I can give it to them.
“We have a good crop of young players which will serve us well and hopefully one or two others coming in can be good for us.”