Alan Judge: Brentford's secret weapon


30th October 2015 - Bees Review

One word which might spring to mind when you think of Alan Judge is energy. The Brentford midfielder never seems to run out of it and this quality would have served him well over a busy October.

After being called-up for the Republic of Ireland squad, Judge burst onto the Griffin Park turf against Rotherham United with an exquisite second-minute volley and his first header for The Bees. Judge was named man of the match and the performance perfectly encapsulated the energy he has brought to the club since his arrival on loan at the start of 2014.

“It was brilliant to be called up to the Republic of Ireland squad and a good experience,” said Alan. “I must be close to making the team if they called me in and I think I have shown in training that I am a decent player. The manager more or less said he needs a friendly to come around to see me on the pitch which I understand because the lads are playing very well at the moment.”

Straight after returning from duty, Alan’s next mission was moving into a new home with his wife Emma and daughter Emily. At the time of speaking to him, he was also awaiting an addition to the family.

“He or she is due on 29 October [yesterday],” said Alan. “Let’s hope it is either before or after the game as there is no way I want to be missing that match. But if she goes into labour during the game I would be running off and going straight to the hospital.”

Family comes first, but Judge understands the importance of a local derby after the fixtures against Fulham last year.

“I didn’t think too much about it in the lead up. I knew Fulham were rivals but when I played in the game at Griffin Park I started to realise how the fans felt about it."

"I remember when Jota scored right at the end and I fell to the floor because I was so exhausted. Everyone put everything into that game – it was for the fans.”

Judge also has fond memories of the match at Craven Cottage as it was an important time in his career.

“That game was brilliant. I was just returning from injury and I wasn’t at full fitness. There were niggles and I wasn’t getting into the team at the time. It was great to score in front of 6,000 away fans. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and we blew them away.”

If Judge ever forgets the importance of tonight’s clash with QPR, he has player liaison manager and match-day announcer Peter Gilham to remind him.

“I have Peter continuously telling me that we have to beat them. We have to! Peter is a die-hard Brentford fan and has become a good friend to me. I want to do well for the club and especially for people as nice as him.”

Although footballers are recognised for their competitive spirit and physicality, Judge’s doggedness often shines out – partly, perhaps, because it contrasts with his small stature.

“I hate losing,” said Alan. “Just hate it. I got used to winning last year and I like being the best at what I can do. You can accept having a bad day but I can’t accept people giving in. So I make sure I work hard. I put in the effort on the training pitch too.

“Through that hard work you reap rewards. People think you are small so you can’t tackle. If you go in and give everything most people will be surprised by your strength. The worse thing that can happen is that you get injured.”

Judge’s father played football in Ireland, is that where his determination came from?

“Well he used to go around kicking people so I’m not at his level. It does help when your father played football; it has had a massive impact on the way I play, definitely. He played for Fulham when he was younger."

“That’s not going to win me any friends around here, is it?! But he moved back home because his mother was unwell. He made a good career in Ireland.”

While Judge has many good qualities, it is probably only fair some attention is given to his faults. 

Teammate Andreas Bjelland told Bees Review at the start of the season the Irish players are the loudest in the squad, but Judge is quick to start a rebuttal.

“Andreas is the moaniest person I have ever met in my whole life," he says with affection. "Every morning he is grumbling about something or the other. If the grass is green, he moans.”

At this point in the interview, Brentford defender Alan McCormack walks by and Judge asks him who the moaniest person in the team is. McCormack points at Judge.

“Before Andreas, it would have definitely been Judge,” says McCormack. “Now he has a bit of competition.”  

When he is not busy moaning, Alan has been impressed with the new members of the team.

“Maxime Colin, I like him,” said Alan. “He’s good on the ball, knows how to tackle. Sergio is so direct and we need that."

"The new players are settling in well but it will take time. In some cases they’ve come from a country where you can barely touch a player to one when you can boot them six feet into the air. They will get stronger.”

When it comes to toughening up, chances are Judge’s presence has already sped up the process.

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