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I sneaked into last Scots curtain-raiser but cover was blown, reveals music icon

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IT was Mission: Impossible for giant rock star Fish trying to stay incognito after sneaking into Scotland’s last tournament curtain raiser under false pretences.

The former frontman with Marillion had managed to gain entry to the Stade de France in Paris distributing leaflets before our World Cup ’98 opener against Brazil.

Former Marillion frontman Fish and his German wife Simone
How Fish looked back in the 1980s
Matt meets Fish, who revealed his tactic for sneaking into the match

But thanks to his familiar 6ft 5in frame, his cover was soon blown when fans swarmed him for photos and autographs.

Fish, real name Derek Dick, recalls: “I had a friend who was head of the fan club at Paris St Germain who called me saying if I was up for a bit of jiggery-pokery he could get me into the stadium for the game.

“So the deal was that 20 of us arrived at the Stade de France at 7am on the morning of the game, which was tough going as I had been out with the Tartan Army the night before at the Auld Alliance pub.

“The deal was we were to place the different coloured placards on the fans’ seats, so when they hold them aloft it creates a mosaic.

“Then you had to stand at the entrances and give fans a leaflet explaining what they had to do with the placards.

“So of course as I’m handing out leaflets, all these Scotland fans are coming in, going, ‘Oi, Fish, can I get a photo with you?’

“There were these two massive security guards at the entrance and they’re looking at each other, thinking, ‘Who is this guy? How does everyone know him?’

“Then just before kick-off I asked if I could get in and they were like, ‘Non’. Then we could hear the national anthems and these two guards still wouldn’t let us in.

“But then there was a big surge of fans who had been getting burgers and whatnot, who all piled in for the whistle, and I just pushed in with them and found a spot to stand.”

Like every Scotland fan, Fish was in despair when Cesar Sampaio scored within four minutes, but he was jumping for joy when John Collins equalised from the penalty spot shortly before half time.
He sighs: “But then there was the Tom Boyd own goal so I left absolutely gutted by yet another Scotland disappointment.”

But Fish had been there before when Scotland had lined up against the Samba Boys at Italia ’90.

He says: “It was my first solo tour and I was supposed to be playing in Turin at the same time Scotland were playing Brazil.

“But the outdoor gig was rained off — which I put down to the rain dance I performed to try and get out of it.

“The rain was bouncing off the floor when we walked to the stadium, got soaked and were beat one-nil.”

He adds: “The authorities in Turin had closed all the bars as they feared trouble as the English fans had been creating mayhem. But when we came out of the stadium, the police decided to open every bar and we were drinking right into the night, having a great time, when my tour manager came and dragged me on to a tour bus to go to the next gig.”

For once though, the big man — who shot to fame with Marillion’s 80s hits Kayleigh and Incommunicado — will be watching the game at his Haddington farm house and recording studio in East Lothian, which he and his other half, Simone Rösler, have just put on the market for offers over £850,000.

The couple, who married in 2017, are selling up for a new life on a 30-acre farmstead on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides, although the die-hard Hibs supporter’s love of the beautiful game will also be evident at his working croft.

Fish, 66, says: “We’ve got 13 Scottish blackface sheep and have named them all.

“There’s Herriot, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Edwards, O’Rourke, Gordon, Cropley, Duncan, Hamilton, Hazel — that’s the 1972 Hibs team, although we don’t know who’s who yet.”

But missus Simone, 55, who is from Karlsruhe in southern Germany, admits she wasn’t interested in football until meeting the singer 13 years ago.

She says: “I didn’t really watch any games until meeting Derek, but he bought me a Scotland top, so I have been supporting Scotland ever since.”

Fish adds: “And in the interests of fairness and unity I will be wearing my German top for the game — although I’ll still be roaring on Scotland, of course.”

But the rocker has another bittersweet Tartan Army memory — when he sang Flower Of Scotland before the Scotland/England Euro ’96 clash at Wembley, when Paul Gascoigne scored a magically solo goal as the home side beat us 2-0.

He says: “The FA lied to me, saying the stadium would be 50/50 with Scots and English fans, when they had actually stuffed us for tickets.

So I did my rehearsals in the morning with this pair of monitors that must have been bought from Woolworths, as they were dreadful.

“When Paul Carrack walked out for England to sing their national anthem, it was a sea of red and white. Then when I walked out I have never had so much abuse in my life. It was like walking into the Colosseum.”

Fish begins his final UK tour in Haddington next February and ends with his last ever gig on March 10 at Glasgow’s O2 Academy, which is already sold out. But he needs to get something fixed first before he can sing properly — £2,000 dental implants after losing his two front teeth during Covid.

EUR VIEW

WE put Fish on the spot:

Favourite Scotland player of all time – Billy Bremner.

Favourite current Scotland player – John McGinn.

Favourite Scotland manager – Craig Brown.

Best Scotland memory – Being at the game in Norway where we won 2-1 to help get us to Italia ‘90.

Worst Scotland memory – When England beat us 2-0 at Wembley in ‘96 when Gazza scored that beauty.

Prediction for Germany match: 2-1.

Prediction for the group: I believe we can qualify for the first time ever.

He says: “The problem is I can’t really sing properly while wearing dentures.

“I also had two new knees done privately, which was expensive, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to do this tour.

“So with my new knees and my implants I will be ready to rock one last time.” But before he brings the curtain down on his glittering career, he is looking forward to being in full voice for the Euro curtain-raiser.

He says: “Ideally I would have loved to have been at the match because there is never going to be any hassle between Germany fans and Scots fans.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

“It’s just going to be about who can drink the most — and I know we can win at that.”

  • The UK leg of Fish’s final Road To The Isles tour kicks off on February 18, 2025. For tickets visit fishmusic.scot.
Fish is starting a new life on the islands
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