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24 Years Ago Today, Ali Dia Made His First And Last Premier League Appearance

24 Years Ago Today, Ali Dia Made His First And Last Premier League Appearance

It's 24 years ago to the day that the one and only Ali Dia made his first and last Premier League appearance for Southampton.

The story goes that Dia had somehow tricked Saints boss Graeme Souness into thinking that he was the cousin of George Weah, who had just won the Ballon d'Or and World Player of the Year awards in 1995.

He had also claimed he'd turned out for Paris Saint-Germain, had played 13 times for his country and scored for them.

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But despite it all being completely fabricated, Dia blagged his way into a one-month contract and even made an appearance in the Premier League.

On November 23 1996, Dia, wearing the No.33 shirt, replaced Matt Le Tissier in a home game against Leeds at the Dell after the Saints legend picked up a first half injury.

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But he was so bad he was substituted himself for Ken Monkou in the 85th minute in a 2-0 loss. It quickly became apparent that Dia was a fraud and he then had his deal rescinded after one cameo appearance.

Le Tissier gave a priceless account of the legendary tale in his autobiography.

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"It was unbelievable. He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice," Le Tissier writes, as per the Liverpool Echo.

It was very, very embarrassing to watch. Souness actually had to take him off again because he was actually that bad.

"I have no idea if he was George Weah's cousin or not. I don't think he was. He was just chuffed to get out on the pitch and play. I think it was a great wind up from someone who came up with this idea.

"He turned up the next morning for treatment on an injury, the physio was telling me. So Sunday morning he turns up, has a bit of treatment, he leaves and then we never see him again. He never came back. He just left. Nobody knows where he went. Never to be seen again.

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"It was very odd. Not quite sure how a man of Graeme's experience fell for that."

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Football News, Football, Funny, Southampton, Premier League, Legends, Leeds United

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Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.