Ali Dia, the “Fake Footballer”

While Ali Dia might have had a very brief career as an imposter compared to the others on my list, he shares a common trait…he definitely has balls.

It began when George Weah (World Player of the Year) made a call to Graeme Souness (manager of Southampton), to convince him to sign his cousin Ali Dia to Southampton. Weah told Souness that his cousin was an exceptionally gifted footballer who had been capped 13 times for Senegal, played for top French team Paris St. Germain and had just scored 2 goals for Senegal a few days before the phone call.  Following the phone call, Ali Dia was signed to Southampton…

Unbeknownst to Souness, it was not actually the international superstar George Weah on the phone – and none of the information about Ali Dia was true.  In fact, the biggest club Ali Dia had ever played for was the non-league club Blyth Spartans- and even that was just one match.

Ali Dia was not George Weah's cousin
Ali Dia was not George Weah’s cousin

Then, thanks to series of good luck (or bad luck for Souness and Southampton) Dia ended up being put straight into a match against Leeds United. He had been due to play a reserve game the week he joined, but because of bad weather conditions the game was postponed. He still wouldn’t have played the match, if Matt Le Tissier hadn’t been forced off the pitch early in the first half.  So on went Ali Dia, the exciting new signing.   He managed to play for 43 minutes, during which time his playing was described by Le Tissier as “like watching Bambi on ice”.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 21.12.04
Graeme Souness, former manager of Southampton

He was also seen on the televised “Match of the Day” by a shocked Peter Harrison, who was Ali Dia’s former manager at Blyth Spartans. News soon spread to George Weah, who denied ever having heard of Ali Dia, let alone being related to him or recommending him as a gifted footballer.

Here is Matt Le Tissier’s hilarious first hand account of the saga: