FORMER Premier League star Steve Claridge is to swap the boots and shin pads for a wig and gown… to play a judge in a new TV series.
The sports-style version of Judge Rinder will see ‘face-offs’ between lawyers representing players and managers past and present – in an attempt to decide who was better.
Claridge, who enjoyed a stellar career with the likes of Leicester City, Birmingham City and Portsmouth, will preside over proceedings.
In Sport in Court, he will listen as lawyers representing both sides will argue their ‘legend’ is the best.
The strand is part of a new show on Sky TV called Ballsy Women, looking at women in sport and its effects on the community.
Producer Geoff Lines said: “There’s three match offs on the series.”
Ex-Liverpool and Scotland hardman Graeme Souness will take on Manchester United and France superstar Paul Pogba.
The pair’s somewhat-bizarre rivalry escalated during the lockdown when the French midfielder claimed he had never heard of the three-time European Cup winner.
Pep Guardiola will go head-to-head against Brian Clough, whose son Nigel was thumped by the Spaniard’s Manchester City with Burton in the Carabao Cup last year.
Both men have lifted the top trophy in European club football, Clough Sr doing so twice with Nottingham Forest and Guardiola at Barcelona.
And Liverpool and England hero Kevin Keegan will be put up against current Kop favourite Mo Salah.
Between them they have 141 goals in 338 appearances for the Anfield club – 68 in 230 for Keegan and 73 in 108 for Salah.
Lines added: “It will be the first time a former professional footballer has donned robes and a wig.
“We think it’s novel… not been done before. In essence, converting a footballer to a Judge. Then, also inserting sport in a courtroom environs.
“The format is, lawyers or advocates, representing a footballer or manager from the past.
“Then another lawyer, seeking to persuade Judge Claridge, that their man is the superior.
“We’ve linked up with Liverpool, Man City, Juventus, for goals action.
“So there’s three match offs on the series. Graeme Souness vs Paul Pogba, Brian Clough vs Pep Guardiola and Kevin Keegan vs Mo Salah.”
Added Geoff: “The show overall is promoting gender parity. Plus shining a light on the good work sport does in the community.
“So, we’ve a piece on Everton, embedding themselves into a troubled school in Liverpool. With really positive results.”
The series will be presented by Olympic medal winner Gail Emms and former England and Wolves winger Matt Jarvis.
TV pundit Claridge, 54, retired in 2012 having played for more than 20 clubs – including Weymouth for three separate spells – during his 829-game, 29-year career, most recently turning out for Salisbury in 2017.
The show goes on air at 6.30pm on August 30.