Daniel John "Danny" Higginbotham
(born 29 December
) is an English footballer
who currently plays as a defender for Stoke City
Higginbotham started his career at Manchester United
but he was unable to break into the first team and was sent to Royal Antwerp
on a loan spell. During this time, Higginbotham, was banned from football for a year after an alleged attack on a referee. A Belgian
court reduced Higginbotham's ban to four months.
Higginbotham's desire to play regular first team football led to him making a £2m move to Derby County
- a large sum for a young player with just four top flight games to his name. Higginbotham made his Derby debut in a 2-2 draw against Southampton, and went on to help Derby avoid relegation at the end of the 2000-01 season
. The 2001-02 season
was less successful, as although he won the fans' Player of the Year Award, Derby were relegated at the end of the traumatic campaign in which they were managed by three different men - Jim Smith
(who resigned in October
), Colin Todd
(promoted from assistant manager after Smith's resignation) and John Gregory
(brought in as Todd's successor).
It was always expected that Higginbotham would eventually move, unless Derby did well enough to gain promotion back to the Premier Leauge. In January 2003, with Derby struggling in Division One, he moved to Southampton on loan, joining permanently in February. Higginbotham had made 86 appearances for Derby, scoring 3 times.
Following Derby's relegation from the Premier League
, Higginbotham moved to Southampton
in January 2003 on loan until the end of the 2002–03 season. The move was made permanent in February 2003 for a fee of £1.5 million. He featured in the Saints' FA cup run in 2002–03, but was an unused substitute for the final against Arsenal
. After two and a half seasons at Southampton he rejected a new contract and as a result was placed on the transfer list.
Higginbotham joined Stoke City
on 3 August 2006
for an initial fee of £225,000, and quickly cemented a regular place in the starting line-up. Higginbotham has played left back on numerous occasions, however the majority of his appearances have been as a centre back (his preferred position). In February 2007, he was awarded the club captaincy following Michael Duberry
's departure to Reading
On 28 August 2007
it was announced that a bid from Sunderland
had been accepted by Stoke City, after Higginbotham had handed a transfer request to the club. Higginbotham signed a four year deal with Sunderland the following day, moving for a fee of £2.5 million, possibly rising to £3 million dependent on appearances.
On 10 November 2007, Higginbotham scored the opening goal for Sunderland which was believed to come off his ear in a 1–1 draw with arch-rivals Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light. Higginbotham re-joined Premier League newcomers Stoke City on transfer deadline day.
Higginbotham rejoined Stoke City
, now playing in the Barclays Premier League, on 1 September 2008
for a fee of £2.5 million.