Friday, 27 May 2011
407 Kallum Higginbotham
Position : Winger (also played upfront)
Played : 2007-08 to 2009-10
Appearances : 69
Goals : 7
Kallum was an 18-year old released fom his YTS contract at Oldham, perhaps signed because he'd scored a hat-trick against us in the Lancashire Youth Cup.
At the time I was a bit critical of Kallum's signing as I thought we had enough short forwards ( whoever's put him down on wikipedia at 5'11 needs their eyes testing ) and needed a big guy instead. However he soon set about proving me wrong. On his second substitute appearance at Shrewsbury he set up Alfie's last minute winner with a cool chip. After a few more impressive turns off the bench he was in the side ahead of a disappointing Ben Muirhead on the right wing making his full debut at home to Stockport in November. As well as displaying pace and skill Kallum also had a secret weapon, a great spring that allowed him to outjump much taller opponents and head the ball on, a tactic we used a lot in the first half of the season.
Kallum soon attracted attention and had a three-year contract shoved under his nose to keep him at Spotland. He has the honour of scoring the first Dale goal of my son's lifetime a superbly well-taken goal after John Doolan put him through away at Accrington in December. After scoring in successive matches in April, Kallum started to look a bit tired and he had an awful game at Wembley coming off at half time after dismally failing to get past his man.
No one was too worried about a teenager burning himself out before the end of his first season but his poor form carried on into the following season and Will Buckley took his place on the right. Amid rumours of off-field misbehaviour Kallum was loaned out to Accrington in October making 5 mainly substitute appearances without scoring. He returned to us in time to come on and score against them in January and John Coleman decided to take another look at him . Second time round he started in 4 of his 7 games but still didn't make much impact and returned to us in March.
In the summer of 2009 he was put on the transfer list but failed to attract any interest. In the first months of the season he was lucky to even make the bench . However an injury to Buckley and his subsequent departure to Watford gave Kallum an opportunity for a comeback and a goal at Dagenham in only his second League game of the season restored a lot of confidence in him. Thereafter he played in most games though still mainly as a substitute. He didn't quite recapture the form of two years earlier but he was looking useful again. He scored a great equaliser at Crewe on Boxing Day then trumped it with a goal from the touchline just in front of the dugouts away at Accrington that was just fantastic (though tainted by a strong claim for handball by Chris Dagnall leading up to it).
It seemed like Kallum had done enough to extend his stay but he was released at the end of his contract , Hilly revealing some of his exasperation by saying Kallum needed to hear the same lessons from a new manager. He signed for Falkirk on a two year deal and made 30 appearances scoring twice in the season just gone.