BBC football pundit Steve Claridge to retire... definitely, maybe

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Monday Night Club Extra

BBC pundit Steve Claridge says he may now play one more season after scoring two goals in Monday's Southern League Division One South play-off final.

Claridge, 46, has played over 1,000 professional matches in a career spanning more than two decades.

His stoppage-time leveller for Gosport paved the way for a 3-1 extra-time play-off win.

"Before the game it was the end but now I don't know. I probably will call it a day but it's been an absolute pleasure, " Claridge told BBC Solent.

Claridge came on with just 14 minutes remaining against Poole at Tatnam Farm and helped turn the game around.

His two goals, along with a fine finish from Justin Bennett, sent Gosport in to the Southern League Premier division.

"It's great, it's a fantastic way to end, what a way to finish," added Claridge.

"I will think about it now. I don't know, I was going to finish up."

Claridge began his professional career at Bournemouth in 1984 where he later returned in 2006, marking his 1,000th game as a professional with a 4-0 defeat by Port Vale.

He went on to have spells at Aldershot, Cambridge United, Birmingham City, Leicester City, Wolves and Millwall.

While at Leicester, Claridge won the League Cup in 1997 and also won the old First Division (Championship) title in 1996.

But he is perhaps best known for the time he spent at Fratton Park, where he scored 34 goals for Portsmouth between 1998 and 2001 and also had a spell there as manager.

Claridge also had two other managerial appointments with Weymouth and a brief period at Millwall which lasted only 36 days.

More recently Claridge made appearances at non-league sides Worthing, Harrow Borough and Weymouth, while also carving out a career as a football pundit for the BBC.

Claridge signed for Gosport in October but continued with his media commitments for the BBC, which include appearing as a pundit on the Football League show and Football Focus.

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