||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Full name||Mark Anthony Fish|
|Date of birth||14 March 1974|
|Place of birth||Cape Town, South Africa|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|2005||→ Ipswich Town (loan)||1||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Fish started his career in his native South Africa under the guidance of renowned coach Steve Coetsee, playing for Arcadia Shepherds, an amateur team based at the Caledonian Stadium in Pretoria. He was spotted by then Jomo Cosmos coach Roy Matthews and turned professional as a striker. It was at Cosmos that he was converted into a central defender and went on to become one of the most promising defenders in South Africa at the time.
In 1994 Fish was signed by Orlando Pirates after Cosmos were relegated. At Pirates he arguably played the best football of his career under the tutelage of Mike Makaab. He also won the league championship at Pirates, as well as the BP Top Eight Cup in 1994, the 1995 African Champions League and the 1995 Bobsave Super Bowl (then the premier cup in South Africa). In 1996 he was part of the history making South African national team to have won the African Cup of Nations at the first attempt after South Africa's readmission to FIFA in 1992.
Soon foreign scouts came knocking and he was signed by Lazio of Italy, after he turned down an opportunity to play for his boyhood club, Manchester United. However he did move to England after just one season at Lazio to become the highest paid player at Bolton Wanderers. Fish was a mainstay in Bolton's back four for much of their first season back in the Premiership, he received praise from both team mates and those whom he played against, most notably Manchester United forward Andrew Cole. Despite Fish's efforts Bolton were relegated on the last day of the season despite having accumulated 40 points, normally enough to stave off the drop. Once playing back in the lower leagues Fish applied himself well, quickly gaining a cult status amongst the Bolton faithful, backed up by his nickname "Feesh", and a particularly eyecatching headgear in the shape of a giant Blue fish being made available in club stores. However, new suitors soon came calling, and only after the appointment of Sam Allardyce did Fish's star begin to fall in the North of Lancashire. Fish soon followed his Danish team mate Claus Jensen and at Alan Curbishley's second time of asking moved to Charlton Athletic in a £700,000 move in November 2000. "The Big Fish" as he was affectionately known throughout his playing career went on to make 102 Premiership appearances for the Addicks, scoring three times.
In 2005 he began to fall out of favour at Charlton. He went on to have a very short loan spell (45 mins) at Ipswich Town in the 2005–06 season but a severe cruciate ligament injury led to Fish announcing his retirement.
Fish returned to football when he signed a six-month contract with his first club Jomo Cosmos in early 2007 but did not play an official game due to his low level of fitness.
Internationally, Fish is best remembered as being a crucial part of South Africa's victorious national soccer squad when they won the 1996 African Cup of Nations. He scored one of the goals in the quarter final against Algeria. He was named to the Team of the Tournament in both the 1996 and 1998 African Cup of Nations. In total he won 62 caps for the South African national team, scoring twice.
|1||1996-01-27||Johannesburg, South Africa||Algeria||1–0||2–1||African Nations Cup|
|2||1996-06-15||Johannesburg, South Africa||Malawi||2–0||3–0||WCQ|
He was married to Loui Fish (née Visser), a former lingerie model and well-known socialite. They have two sons, Luke Fish (born in Bolton, 1999) & Zeke Fish (born in 2001).
Fish has returned from Europe to his homeland South Africa and has been actively involved in charity work, much of it aimed at the development of African soccer and the eradication of African poverty. He was one of a handful of Ambassadors in South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In August 2008 Fish's wife, Loui, and his ten-year-old son, Luke, were at their Mooikloof home with friends when five men, armed with an assortment of weapons including an AK-47, burst into their house.
Mark and Loui divorced in April 2011. Mark is currently an ANC member of the Lilliesfarm branch.
- Graeme Friedman "Madiba's Boys The Stories of Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish" Comerford & Miller, United Kingdom ISBN 1,919,888 08 Features a foreword by Nelson Mandela