'It didn't work out' - New Colchester signing Judge on his career at Ipswich

Alan Judge has signed for Colchester United

Alan Judge has signed for Colchester United - Credit: Colchester United

New Colchester United signing Alan Judge has admitted ‘it didn’t happen for me’ during his two-and-a-half years at Ipswich Town. 

The Irishman became the latest former blue to move down the A12 this summer, following Cole Skuse, Luke Chambers and Freddie Sears, after he was released at the end of his Ipswich contract. 

Judge, 32, brought a spark when he first signed in January 2019, but couldn’t hit the heights expected of him during his two campaigns in League One. 

There were reasons for that, both on and off the pitch. He was rarely played in his preferred central position while also dealing with issues in his personal life, which saw his young daughter need an operation in London before losing his mother earlier this year following a battle with cancer.  

Alan Judge has signed a two-year contract extension with Ipswich Town. Photo: ITFC

Judge signed for Ipswich in January 2019 - Credit: Archant

“There were some good times at Ipswich,” he told the Colchester Gazette. 

“I’m not going to beat around the bush – it didn’t happen for me on the pitch because I had a few problems in my personal life, off the pitch and it all kind of coincided. 

“I think anybody that knows me there and the fans knows I always gave 100 per cent when I played. 

“For one reason or another, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to work out. 

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“It wasn’t their fault, it wasn’t my fault. It just didn’t work but I loved my time there.” 

On the Ipswich reunion at Colchester, with Dean Gerken, Tommy Smith, Tom Eastman and Frank Nouble also at the club, Judge said: “It feels like they know what they want to do. 

“People might say they are just signing all the players from Ipswich, they can say that, fair enough. 

“But they had everything in line and have pulled off more-or-less everything they wanted to and are doing it early.” 

Alan Judge celebrates scoring an injury-time winner at Lincoln City, Town's only victory in their la

Judge, pictured scoring at Lincoln in 2019

Judge and his fellow former Ipswich players will have a quick reunion with their former employers, given they face each other in pre-season and have been drawn into the same Papa John's Trophy group. The game is likely to be played at Portman Road.

The move to Colchester sees Judge drop into League Two at a time when he had several offers to remain in League One, including from Gillingham. But the former Republic of Ireland international is excited by the opportunity lying ahead at a club looking for vast improvement on last season’s 20th-place finish. 

“I had a few offers from League One and I took them all into consideration,” he said. 

“But with family and when I saw the vision of what they want to try and do, it ticked all the boxes for me. 

“They’re going to try and have a go this year. 

“I know it didn’t go the way they wanted it maybe last year – Covid had an impact on a lot of teams and maybe it’s going a little bit different, this year. 

“They’re going to have more experience in the team, through the middle of it anyway and hopefully we can help bring those young players through again and try and get into the play-offs – that’s what we’re hoping for anyway. 

“I knew quite a bit about the club, because there were one or two players here I knew. 

“I know Jon (De Souza, technical director) from my time at Brentford. 

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring Towns second goal to take them 2-0 up against Bristol Rovers.

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring Towns second goal to take them 2-0 up against Bristol Rovers. - Credit: www.stephenwaller.com

“I spoke to Jon quite a bit and he sold me on the idea of what he’s trying to do.” 

Colchester are a club known for giving a significant number of young players and opportunity to make their mark, with Judge and the rest of the Ipswich contingent excited to play a part in their development. 

“I know the club usually brings young players through and they’re going a little bit differently, this year,” Judge said. 

“They want a good strength through the middle of the team and then help the young players in and around that and it’s something that I’m interested in. 

“It would be good for the young lads to have more experienced players around them, players who know what it takes to be playing Saturday-Tuesday continuously. 

“I know the lads who have come in well – they’re great lads and they’ll be good for the young lads, I’m sure. 

“That’s what we’re here for – we’re here to help the young lads come through.”