Ex-Sunderland defender Higginbotham quits at 35

Danny Higginbotham.
Danny Higginbotham.
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FORMER Sunderland defender Danny Higginbotham has announced his retirement with immediate effect, only a week after joining Skrill North side Altrincham.

The 35-year-old made the switch to his home town club from Chester in a bid to reignite his love of the game, but that has now been extinguished, with the Gibraltar international deciding to call time on his career.

“I realise this will come completely out of the blue to a lot of people, but, believe me, it is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It is a massive step to hang up your boots and accept you are finished, but it’s one I could not avoid,” Higginbotham said.

“Looking back, I should probably have quit when I left Chester, but I couldn’t pass up the chance of joining Alty. I always said I would play for the club I have always supported and I genuinely hoped it would prove the catalyst for firing me up again and getting me back to how I used to be.

“But the harsh reality is, it didn’t, and if anything confirms it is time to go, then that’s it.

“I had to be true to myself, and if I had carried on pocketing money for the rest of the season, I’d have been letting down the rest of the players, the manager, the supporters and everyone connected with the club.

“Tuesday night at Gainsborough just confirmed it.

“It wasn’t because we lost. I can take a defeat. I just wasn’t enjoying it and wasn’t putting my body on the line like I used to in my Premier League days, and I just couldn’t put it off any longer.”

Higginbotham started his career at Manchester United where he made seven appearances, before a loan spell at Antwerp preceded spells with Derby, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland, for whom he memorably hit the opening goal in a 1-1 derby draw against Newcastle in 2007.