Higginbotham training with Stoke City in 2010
|Full name||Daniel John Higginbotham|
|Date of birth||29 December 1978|
|Place of birth||Manchester, England|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|1998–1999||→ Royal Antwerp (loan)||29||(3)|
|2012||→ Nottingham Forest (loan)||6||(1)|
|2012||→ Ipswich Town (loan)||12||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:45, 7 December 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Higginbotham started his career at his local side Manchester United he made seven appearances at Old Trafford as well as a loan spell with Belgium side Royal Antwerp before joining Derby County in order to play more matches. He spent three years at the "Rams" but handed in a transfer request when the club was relegated from the Premiership. Southampton moved to sign Higginbotham for £1.5 million in February 2003, and he help the South Coast side reach the 2003 FA Cup Final. When Southampton were relegated in 2005, Higginbotham rejected a new contact and was placed on the transfer list.
He joined fellow Championship side Stoke City for £225,000 in August 2006. He was made captain when Michael Duberry left in January 2007 and Stoke went on to narrowly missed out on a play-off place. With Stoke not being promoted Higginbotham again decided to hand in a transfer request to help force through a move to Sunderland. He spent one season at the Stadium of Light before returning to Stoke in 2008. He became a vital member of Tony Pulis' squad as Stoke established themselves in the Premier League. He scored the winning goal in the FA Cup quarter final against West Ham United but injury meant he missed out on both the semi-final and the final. After his recovery he struggled to force his way back into the side and spent time out on loan to Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town before joining Sheffield United on a free transfer in January 2013. After spending eight months at Bramall Lane he left to join Conference side Chester.
Born in England, Higginbotham made his international debut for Gibraltar in a friendly against Slovakia during November 2013 at the age of 34.
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 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 £2 million move to Derby County – a large sum for a young player with just four top-flight games to his name. His decision to leave Manchester United was praised by the player he failed to displace, Denis Irwin. 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, Colin Todd and John Gregory. It was always expected that Higginbotham would eventually move, unless Derby did well enough to gain promotion back to the Premier League. 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 three 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, playing once in the Fifth Round against Norwich City, 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 on transfer deadline day.
Return to Stoke City
Higginbotham rejoined Stoke, on 1 September 2008 for a fee of £2.5 million. On 19 October, Higginbotham scored his first goal after rejoining them, against Tottenham Hotspur. The goal came when Tom Soares was brought down in the penalty area by left-back Gareth Bale. Bale was given a straight red card for the offence and Higginbotham scored the resulting penalty. Stoke went on to win the match 2–1. Higginbotham praised the Stoke support after the win. He was the first choice at left-back for manager Tony Pulis, playing in 28 league matches as the team successfully fought for survival. However he missed the final five games of the season due to a slipped disc. He later underwent surgery.
With the summer signing of Danny Collins, Higginbotham was dropped to the bench however he regained his place in the Stoke side, mainly being utilised in his more natural position in the centre of defence, and scored the first goal in a 3–0 win over Blackburn Rovers on 8 February 2010. He was praised by first team coach Mark O'Connor for reclaiming his place in the side. He started the first game of the 2010–11 season away at Wolverhampton Wanderers but was dropped for the next match in favour of Collins. He scored in the League Cup against Fulham in September 2010.
Higginbotham signed a contract extension in October 2010 for a further 12 months keeping at Stoke until 2013. Higginbotham has been a key figure in the club's success since he returned to City for his second spell following promotion to the Barclays Premier League in 2008 and he made his 200th top-flight appearance against Manchester United on 24 October. Manager Tony Pulis expressed his delight at Higginbotham's decision in an interesting way.
"We wanted to cement Danny's future with the Club because he is such a good professional and it is important we look after certain players at the Football Club who started all this off. I've got a lot of time for Danny because he is one who falls into that category. He may not be in the side on a regular basis at the moment, but he still has a crucial role to play, as do a number of other players in a similar situation. The fabric of a Football Club is made up of the whole cloth, not bits and pieces, so we are delighted Danny will remain a part of that"
Following his contract extension Higginbotham has stated that he wants to end his career at Stoke. He scored a rare league goal in January 2011 against Bolton Wanderers. He scored his first FA Cup goal of his career in a quarter final win against West Ham United. It proved to be the winning goal thus earning Stoke their first semi-final appearance for 39 years. He scored an identical goal against Newcastle United the following week. However in the next League match against Chelsea Higginbotham sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury ruling him out for six months. Pulis spoke of his disappointment in losing Higginbotham but has also stressed he will play a key role in the final few games of the season due to his influence in the dressing room. He later admitted that missing the final made him "jealous" of his team mates.
Higginbotham targeted to return from his knee injury by October 2011. He marked his return from his knee injury by scoring the only goal in a 1–0 reserve team win over Sheffield United on 11 October 2011. However, after failing to force his way back into the first team, Higginbotham joined Nottingham Forest on loan until the end of the season on 31 January 2012. Upon signing for Forest, Higginbotham admitted that he was unsure of his future at Stoke. He has been backed by Thomas Sørensen to make a return to Stoke's first team. On 10 March 2012, Higginbotham scored his first goal for a year when he scored the second for Forest in a 3–1 home win over Millwall. His loan spell with Forest was ended early due to injury.
Higginbotham joined Ipswich Town on a one-month loan on 21 September 2012, which was later extended until January 2013. He was expected to extend his loan until the end of the season but Higginbotham rejected the deal saying he wanted to be based closer to his home, and left Portman Road having played twelve games. After his move to Sheffield United, Higginbotham has stated that his six year spell at Stoke City was 'the best years of his career'.
On 1 January 2013, Higginbotham signed for League One side Sheffield United on a six-month contract, and made his debut for the Blades against South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers the same day. Former Stoke City team mate and current Blades team mate Dave Kitson played a huge part role in Higginbotham's move to Bramall Lane, Higginbotham stated on his move to the Blades: "I was getting ready to go back to Ipswich on Sunday but after speaking to Dave I was optimistic something would be sorted here and thankfully it was... I was very surprised and very happy when I got a phone call on Sunday to say that something could be happening here [Sheffield United]... Dropping into League One isn't a worry for me because this is a club on the up and I didn't want to be stuck at Stoke just picking my money up because that isn't me"
On 18 June 2013 having made sufficient first team appearances for the Blades, Higginbotham activated a clause in his contract to extend it for the following season.
Born in England, Higginbotham is eligible to play for the Gibraltar national team through his maternal grandmother. The Gibraltar manager, Allen Bula is his uncle. Higginbotham made his international debut in Gibraltar's first ever match as a UEFA member, a 0–0 draw in a friendly against Slovakia, on 19 November 2013. He was praised for his performance and was named man of the match.
- As of 30 November 2013
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other[A]||Total|
|Manchester United||1997–98||Premier League||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Royal Antwerp (loan)||1998–99||Belgian Second Division||29||3||0||0||0||0||–||0||0||29||3|
|Derby County||2000–01||Premier League||26||0||3||0||4||0||–||–||33||0|
|Stoke City||2008–09||Premier League||28||1||0||0||2||0||–||–||30||1|
|Nottingham Forest (loan)||2011–12||Championship||6||1||0||0||0||0||–||–||6||1|
|Ipswich Town (loan)||2012–13||Championship||12||0||0||0||0||0||–||–||12||0|
|Sheffield United||2012–13||League One||15||0||2||0||0||0||–||1||0||18||0|
- A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Football League play-offs, The Intercontinental Cup and the FA Trophy.
- Manchester United
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|Stoke City F.C. captain