Cook: Judge Offered to Waive One-Year Option
Friday, 16th Apr 2021 11:20
The summer Portman Road exodus got under way in earnest yesterday with the departures of midfielder Alan Judge and goalkeeper-coach Jimmy Walker. Manager Paul Cook revealed at his pre-match press conference that Judge offered to waive the one-year option which would have been triggered by his 30th league start of the season so he could continue to play for the rest of the season.
After rumours that the Irish international had departed circulated yesterday afternoon, Town confirmed that the 32-year-old would play no further part in a statement last night. Having made 29 league starts this season, another would automatically trigger another season on his deal, something Cook wasn't prepared to do.
“Alan will be moving on this summer with my best wishes,” Cook said. “In my short time at the club, Alan was an absolute pleasure to work with, a pleasure.
“He's a very infectious young man and he loves his football, he's a very, very strong character and personality around the club. Going forward, I wish him well.
“There was a trigger in his contract that if he’d started one more game that would have triggered another year and at the minute I wasn't prepared to want to trigger that. Going forward, I then wasn't prepared to do that.
“Alan was prepared then to possibly maybe take it out of the contract and different stuff, but we suggested that if Alan was to get injured in the final games, then that could affect his future and the rest of his career, and it wasn't something that I wanted to take on board.
“Because if a player gets injured playing for us and playing for me, I would feel beholden to that player and the club would. I think it's quite obvious and I won't go into great depth.
“This club needs change. This club has to have change, this club must have change and this club will have change.
“So, going forward, I think with Alan, we've obviously had one or two other lads leave, loans have left. I think it's quite obvious and clear that there will be a lot of change at this football club.
“So on Alan, I certainly wish him well, he was a lovely young man, he was a pleasure to be around, and I wish him every success in the future.”
Walker’s exit was announced yesterday morning with academy keeper-coach Carl Pentney stepping into the first-team role in the interim.
The former West Ham and Walsall keeper's departure leaves first-team coach Matt Gill as the only remaining member of Paul Lambert's staff still at the club.
Cook brought in Gary Roberts as another first-team coach, while U23s coach Kieron Dyer has played an increasing role with the senior side, the new boss having been impressed by the former England international's coaching abilities.
Leam Richardson, Cook's assistant at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan, has been linked with a move to the Blues in the summer, however, appears increasingly likely to be offered the Wigan's manager's job full-time. Richardson is currently interim-boss of the Latics.
We understand former Blues central defender John McGreal, who played alongside Cook at Tranmere, is also very much in contention for a role during the summer’s shake-up at Portman Road.
Cook's Wigan goalkeeper-coach Nick Colgan, who had a brief spell with Town as a player without making a senior appearance, is currently working at Nottingham Forest.
Asked whether he has a replacement lined up for Walker, Cook said: “Again it's a platform for you [the media] where you want every topic discussed and everything. Going forward, especially with the goalkeeping situation, like every situation at the club, as you can imagine, it's delicate.
“You know, when a new manager comes in with 10 games to go with Gary Roberts, the staff are a little bit edgy. Obviously, with the new ownership coming in now, with Michael O'Leary coming in as a chairman and Mark Ashton is about to come in at the end of May as CEO, there’s going to be a lot of change.
“Within that, at the minute, I've been entrusted with the football side of the club and making decisions to take the club forward.
“To say I'm not happy at the minute wouldn't probably be doing ‘not happy’ a fair assessment of where we're at.
“What we offer on the pitch as a football club, myself and the staff included, is a million miles from where this club needs to be.
“So, again with Jimmy, it was a decision that was made. Certainly, that allows Jimmy to look to the summer to get a fresh opportunity.
“Jimmy's got a great name in football, and he's a really good guy to be around and another guy I certainly wish well for the future, as does everyone at Ipswich Town wish him that as well.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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