Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge has angrily refuted claims by referee Darren Drysdale that he sparked their now infamous on-field bust-up by calling the official a ‘cheating bald c***’.
Drysdale’s claims emerged on Thursday as the FA announced that the referee has been handed a backdated suspension and warned over his future conduct following the controversial confrontation in February.
But Judge sensationally hit back at Drysdale later on Thursday night, insisting he did not use the C word and claimed Ipswich have audio from the match that proves it.
Referee Darren Drysdale angrily squared up with Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge last month
Both Judge and Drysdale had to be separated by several players as the scuffle continued
‘I said the incident was over as far as I was concerned when I walked off the pitch and that I wasn’t looking for an apology,’ Judge told Ipswich’s website. ‘I didn’t want to make anything of it because it’s a tough job being a referee but I’m not going to keep quiet when I’ve been accused of calling the referee a cheat and using the C word.
‘I’ll admit using the F word but I said to him ‘you have got to be f***ing joking me and I said that a couple of times to him. I never used the C word. I don’t use that word and I didn’t call him a cheat.
‘My mum passed away last week – which is far more important than this – and I don’t need this hassle to be honest. Like I said, the matter was closed but I’ve got a decent reputation in the game and I won’t stand by and be accused of saying something I didn’t and not responding.
‘Our media team have got some audio and it backs me up. Some people have said I should have come out straightaway and explained what I said but I didn’t want to do that.
‘I was trying to help Darren. I said the matter was finished and it was but I have to make it clear now that I totally dispute what has been said by the referee.’
When giving evidence on the incident, Drysdale claimed: ‘Alan Judge then, in my opinion, exaggerates his fall in a desperate attempt to gain a penalty kick for his team. I then processed what happened for a few seconds before blowing my whistle and decided to caution Alan Judge for trying to deceive a match official.
‘As I blew my whistle, Alan Judge shouted aggressively in a loud voice at me and from a distance of only 5 metres, ‘It’s a f****** penalty you cheating bald c***!’
‘Reacting completely out of character, I took exception to what I considered to be an offensive comment. I walked towards Alan Judge who then continued his tirade of abuse as he then, what I deemed as, aggressively and provokingly pointed his finger towards my face and shouted, ‘You’re a f****** cheating c***!’
‘I accept that I should not have moved my head towards Alan Judge as this only inflamed the situation. At no time was there any physical contact between myself and Alan Judge.
‘My action of moving forward was a posture of authority and with the player being significantly shorter than me, this led to me looking down at him. I then issued a yellow card to Alan Judge for his exaggerated fall.’
Drysdale was initially charged by the Football Association with improper conduct
After Drysdale gave his version of events, the FA released a statement on Thursday evening revealing the verdict over his punishment.
The statement read: ‘An independent Regulatory Commission has given Darren Drysdale a back-dated suspension and warning as to his future conduct for a breach of FA Rule E3.
‘The match official admitted that his behaviour during the 90th minute of an EFL League One tie between Ipswich Town FC and Northampton Town FC on Tuesday 16 February 2021 amounted to improper conduct.
‘The suspension, which ran from 19 February 2021 to 10 March 2021, and warning were imposed by the independent Regulatory Commission during a subsequent hearing.’
Immediately following the confrontation, Drysdale – an RAF sergeant from Lincolnshire – had been dropped on his 50th birthday by the PGMOL from refereeing his scheduled match between Southend and Bolton that weekend.
Judge was furious after Drysdale didn’t award a penalty in his favour against Northampton
In his statement via the PGMOL following the confrontation, Drysdale apologised and admitted he had done wrong.
‘I fully understand that it is important to maintain our composure throughout the game and always engage with players in a professional manner,’ he said.
‘I’m sorry that I did not do that last night and I can only apologise to Alan and Ipswich Town.’
Ipswich midfielder Judge, meanwhile, had insisted he was not looking for an apology from Drysdale nor pressing an FA charge, saying: ‘Referees have a tough job to do and it was heat of the moment stuff that happens in football.
‘The photo makes it look worse than it was and to be honest, the matter was finished with from my end as soon as I walked off the pitch.
‘I wasn’t looking for the referee to apologise; I wasn’t looking for him to be charged. There was never going to be a complaint from me and I made that clear. Like I said, for me – it was finished with straight away.’
But now, an ugly saga appears to have taken another unedifying twist.