Aly Dia (born 20 August 1965), commonly known as Ali Dia, is a Senegalese former professional footballer who played as a striker. In November 1996, Dia convinced Graeme Souness, then Southampton manager, that he was the cousin of FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or winner George Weah, which led to him signing a one-month contract with Southampton days later. Dia played only one match in his short spell at the club. He came on as a substitute in a league game, but was then himself substituted. He was subsequently released, 14 days into his contract.
|Full name||Aly Dia|
|Date of birth||20 August 1965|
|Place of birth||Dakar, Senegal|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
After a playing career at the lower levels in France and Germany, and having already failed trials at Gillingham and Bournemouth, Dia joined non-league club Blyth Spartans, where he made only one substitute appearance – on 9 November 1996 in a Northern Premier League game against Boston United.
Days later, Dia was signed by Southampton manager Graeme Souness, after Souness received a phone call purporting to be from Liberian international and then-FIFA World Player of the Year, George Weah. "Weah" told Souness that Dia was his cousin, had played for Paris Saint-Germain, and had played 13 times for his country. None of this was true, and the phone call to Souness was made by a fellow university student of Dia's, suggesting that he should give Dia a chance with Southampton. Souness was convinced, and Dia was signed on a one-month contract.
Dia played just one game for Southampton, wearing the number 33 shirt, against Leeds United on 23 November 1996; he had originally been scheduled to play in a reserve team friendly against Arsenal, but the match was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch. In the match against Leeds, he came on as a substitute for the injured Matthew Le Tissier after 32 minutes, but was later substituted himself (for Ken Monkou) in the 85th minute; Leeds won the match 2–0. Le Tissier said: "He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very embarrassing to watch."
Dia was released by Southampton two weeks into his contract. He briefly played for non-league Gateshead, before leaving in February 1997. Dia only played eight games for the North East outfit, including scoring on his debut in a 5–0 win over Bath City.
Dia studied business at Northumbria University in Newcastle, graduating in 2001. He received a Master of Business Administration from San Francisco State University in 2003. He has a son, named Simon, who plays football for Ratchaburi Mitr Phol.
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