Mark Clattenburg in Gladiators and other second careers in sport

Mark Clattenburg officiating at the 2016 Champions League final
Mark Clattenburg has joined the new Gladiators reboot as a referee

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg will be keeping the Gladiators in check in a new BBC reboot.

The original Gladiators ran on UK television from 1992-2000 and will return to our screens on Saturday, 13 January.


Clattenburg, who refereed the 2016 FA Cup, Champions League and European Championship finals, said landing the job is “one of the most amazing things I will do in my life”.

“John Anderson the original referee was so legendary,” said the 48-year-old. “It is such an honour.”

Among those Clattenburg will be refereeing is British sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

Of course, Clattenburg is not the first major sporting figure to make a surprising career transition post-retirement. From professional wrestling to becoming a detective, here are a few more examples.

Grant Holt – wrestler

Grant Holt
Grant Holt went from being physical with forwards to professional wrestling

As a footballer, Grant Holt helped Norwich City secure a place in the Premier League in 2011 after back-to-back promotions, and also played in the top flight for Aston Villa.

In 2018, he retired from professional football and made his debut in wrestling, joining the World Association of Wrestling.

Manny Pacquaio – politician

Manny Pacquiao raises his hand in salute during presidency campaign, 2022
Manny Pacquiao made an unsuccessful bid for the Philippines presidency in 2022

Manny Pacquiao is one of the best boxers of all time, winning world titles in eight different weight divisions. In 2021, he hung up his gloves to channel his energy in the arguably more vicious arena of politics.

Pacquiao already worked as a senator in the Philippines’ parliament, and in 2021 he made a bid to run for president.

Carly Patterson – singer, songwriter

Carly Patterson receives the all-around gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens
Carly Patterson’s gymnastics career was short but decorated

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Carly Patterson became the first American gymnast for 20 years to win the all-around gold medal.

She was just 16 at the time, but within two years had retired because of bulging discs in her back.

After leaving gymnastics, Patterson pursued a career in music, releasing her debut album in 2009. That same year, she was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Hakan Sukur – Uber driver in exile

Hakan Sukur
Hakan Sukur’s life has taken a major turn following a fall-out with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Former Blackburn and Galatasaray forward Hakan Sukur is the all-time leading goalscorer in the Super Lig – the Turkish top flight.

Between 1992 and 2007, he scored 51 goals in 112 appearances for his country and was part of the Turkey team that finished third at the 2002 World Cup.

However, Sukur now lives in exile in the US following a rift with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused the former footballer of being part of a 2016 attempted bloody coup. Sukur denies that.

In 2018, he spoke to the New York Times about working in a bakery and driving for Uber, having had his houses, businesses and bank accounts in Turkey seized by Erdogan’s government.

Sergio Aguero – content creator

Sergio Aguero dressed in Manchester City colours at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Sergio Aguero has made a thoroughly modern career transition

Sergio Aguero’s football career came to an abrupt end in 2021, when he was forced to retire after cardiac issues. The former Manchester City and Barcelona striker enjoyed an illustrious career with 427 goals in 786 games and a glut of honours, including five Premier League trophies and one Copa America.

While playing football, he also built up a massive 4.8 million followers on his Twitch channel, and soon after his retirement from football, Disney+ offered him a contract as a content creator.

Arjan de Zeeuw – detective

Arjan de de Zeeuw playing for Wigan Athletic in 2005
Arjan de de Zeeuw went from tackling forwards to tackling crime

Fans of Barnsley, Wigan, Portsmouth and Coventry will remember Arjan de Zeeuw as a tough-tackling Dutch centre-back.

He made 146 Premier League appearances before retiring in 2009 and returning to the Netherlands. There he took up a second career as a detective, with a specialism in forensics.

In 2014, De Zeeuw spoke to BBC Sport about his new vocation.

“I like the idea of justice and trying to make the world a better place for everybody,” he said, while also revealing he had become more confident with a gun.

Margaret Court – minister

Margaret Court looks on during a tennis Hall of Fame ceremony in 2020
Margaret Court’s views have set her at odds with others in the tennis community

Margaret Court won 64 Grand Slam titles during her tennis career – 24 in singles and 40 in doubles – making her one of the sport’s most decorated players.

After retiring in 1997, she retrained as a pastor. Her views on the LGBTQ+ community have drawn huge criticism from others in the sport, with Martina Navratilova calling for the Margaret Court Arena in Australia to be renamed.

Jody Craddock – artist

Jody Craddock celebrates with Adlene Guedioura of Wolves in 2011
Jody Craddock managed to turn his passion for painting into a second career

When former Wolves skipper Jody Craddock retired from professional football in 2013, aged 37, he saw one obvious career path before him.

“I could play football and I could paint. It’s all I could do,” he has said.

While many of his contemporaries moved into punditry, the centre-half chose to turn his passion for art into a vocation. Some of the commissions for portraits he has received include David Beckham and John Terry.

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