Ali Dia

Aly Dia[1][2] (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.[3]

Ali Dia
Personal information
Full name Aly Dia
Date of birth (1965-08-20) 20 August 1965 (age 56)
Place of birth Dakar, Senegal
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1989 Beauvais 1 (0)
1989–1990 Dijon 3 (0)
1990–1991 La Rochelle
1991–1992 Saint-Quentin 6 (1)
1993–1994 Châteaubriant
1995 FinnPa 5 (0)
1995 PK-35 3 (1)
1995 VfB Lübeck 2 (0)
1996 Blyth Spartans 1 (0)
1996 Southampton 1 (0)
1996–1997 Gateshead 8 (2)
1997 Spennymoor United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


After a playing career at the lower levels in France and Germany,[4] and having already failed trials at Gillingham and Bournemouth,[5] 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.[citation needed]

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.[6] 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;[7] Leeds won the match 2–0. Le Tissier said: "He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very embarrassing to watch."[8][9][10]

Dia was released by Southampton two weeks into his contract.[3] He briefly played for non-league Gateshead, before leaving in February 1997.[3] Dia only played eight games for the North East outfit, including scoring on his debut in a 5–0 win over Bath City.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Dia studied business at Northumbria University in Newcastle, graduating in 2001.[12] He received a Master of Business Administration from San Francisco State University in 2003.[1] He has a son, named Simon, who plays football for Ratchaburi Mitr Phol.[1]


Dia has regularly featured in lists of bad players or bad transfers.[3][13] He was named at Number 1 in a list of "The 50 worst footballers" in The Times newspaper.[14]

See alsoEdit

  • Alessandro Zarrelli: Italian footballer who fraudulently attempted to gain professional contracts
  • Carlos Kaiser: Brazilian footballer who feigned injuries to conceal his lack of ability while contracted to professional clubs
  • Živko Lukić: Serbian footballer and dentist who hoaxed his way into playing a match for Paris Saint-Germain


  1. ^ a b c Naqi, Kelly (23 November 2016). "Finding Ali Dia". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Aly Dia Profile, News & Stats". Premier League. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Hills, David (6 August 2000). "The 10 worst foreign signings of all time". The Observer. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  4. ^ Ali Dia at
  5. ^ "'What's this geezer doing? He's hopeless' – the Ali Dia story, 20 years on". the Guardian. 22 November 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Never again..." BBC Sport. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  7. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. pp. 248 & 504. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
  8. ^ Gibbs, Thom (7 February 2011). "Five terrible debuts to make Fernando Torres feel better". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  9. ^ "The one-off who played for Southampton". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  10. ^ "The Journal of Failure". The Legend of Ali Dia. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Gateshead F.C. Season 1996/97". Unofficial Gateshead Football Club Statistics Database. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  12. ^ Harris, Nick (17 May 2006). "Meet the BBC's guest editor (and other accidental heroes)". The Independent. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Premiership's Top 10 Foreign Flops". Who Ate All the Pies?. Shiny Media. 25 May 2008. Archived from the original on 25 May 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  14. ^ Murphy, Alex (4 July 2007). "The 50 worst footballers". The Times. London: Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 20 July 2007.

External linksEdit