“I still support United,” he said. “To be able to go and play in front of such a large crowd, at a big stadium, against your boyhood team, it doesn’t get much better.”
Well, apart from playing for your boyhood team?
Higginbotham is a local lad who played for United’s academy as a teenager. He was sent to Royal Antwerp on loan, like most of our hopeful players for the future, where he almost found himself banned from football for a year. In an incident with a referee left him with a suspended sentence, meaning he had to be on his best behaviour to escape the year long ban, facing four months out instead.
He left United when he was 22-years-old, after failing to reach the potential required to make it at United, costing £2 million back in 2000. This made Danny a pretty expensive player, considering he had just four appearances for United before the sale.
He has since signed for Southampton and Stoke City, before making the trip a lot of former reds have, up to Roy Keane’s Sunderland. He has since returned to Stoke City in the summer for £2.5 million.
“At the end of the day it’s a football match, and you can’t let sentiment get in the way of that, but it’s still always a great feeling to go back and play at Old Trafford,” he continued. “When I first went back with Derby it was special. It was the next-to-last game of the season and we needed a win to stay up, and we won 1-0. Everybody was celebrating on the day because we’d stayed up and United had already won the league. I’ve had a few hammerings since, though, and it’s always really tough against United. They’re a great team with an unbelievable work ethic, and I believe they can win the Premier League and the Champions League again this year – they’re that good.”
How has Danny got on during his return visits to Old Trafford?
05/05/01 – United 0 Derby 1
12/12/01 – United 5 Derby 0
31/01/04 – United 3 Southampton 2
04/12/04 – United 3 Southampton 0
01/09/07 – United 1 Sunderland 0