Friday, 11 February 2011
Ali Dia, footballs greatest conman.
I recently stumbled across this player and extremely surprised I hadn't come across him earlier, considering his incredible story.
In November 1996, footballing legend George Weah, former World Player of the Year, phoned up then Southampton manager Graeme Souness. Weah told him about his cousin, a rising star in France, having already represented his country 13 times and insisted he should sign him immediately. Souness was sold and signed Dia instantly on a one month contract. Little did he know, it was the agent of Ali Dia that phoned Souness on that fateful day and the whole story was a complete and utter fabrication.
The original plan was for Dia to take part in a reserves game against Arsenal, however as fate would have it, the pitch was deemed unplayable due to waterlogged conditions and the match was cancelled.
On 23rd November 1993, Southampton were playing a league game against Leeds United. New signing Ali Dia was, to the worlds surprise, named on the substitutes bench. Upon a minor injury to Matt Le Tissier, Dia was substituted on the pitch after 32 minutes.
53 long minutes later Dia was taken off after a worse than woeful display. It was clear to everybody that Dia was not a footballer.
In an interview later on, Matt Le Tisser gave his version of the story,
"His performance was almost comical. He kind of took my place, but he didn't really have a position. He was just wondering everywhere. I don't think he realised what position he was supposed to be in."
For Dia his time was up before it had even started. He'd had his 53 minutes of fame and was released by Southampton after 2 weeks. He was later signed by Gateshead, scoring 2 goals in 8 appearances before ultimately being transfer listed.