One of the biggest Hoaxes in Premier League History!
You all heard the story and know what happened but for those who don't, this is what happened in November 1996...
The then manager of Southampton Graeme Souness received a phone call from a man claiming to be the Ballon D'Or 1995 winner and Liberia striker George Weah, The man managed to convince Souness that his cousin Ali Dia played for PSG and the Senegal national team and convinced the former Liverpool midfielder to take Dia on trial.
Souness agreed to sign Ali Dia on a one-month contract. This lasted 14 days, one match and the player received £2000 in wages.
The Match vs Leeds United
Now the moment came when many of our dreams growing up would come true; a debut in the Premier League, this dream came into reality for Ali Dia as he was subbed on for the injured Matt Le Tissier in a top flight tie against Leeds United.
Dia had a chance and almost scored a goal, if that shot would have gone in what a story that would be! However the substitute was subbed off and eventually released from Southampton.
What happened after?
Ali Dia would go on to sign for Conference National side Gateshead and receive a signing-on fee of £1500, bringing his total tally of money pocketed to £3500.
However Día's spell at the North East club started well, scoring on his debut, making 8 appearances, and netting twice, a poor run of form will follow which eventually led to his release from the club.
He then had a brief spell at Spennymoor United before going off the radar.
In 2015 Bleacher Report tracked the former Saints striker and he had the chance to put his story out there, Ali Dia told Bleacher Report 'They have portrayed me as a liar, and that is bull. I did play for Paris Saint-Germain, in the second tier, in 1986-'88. And I helped win the Paris Cup, in either 1986 or 1987...it's been a while.'
Dia went on to say that it was an agent he was introduced to that made that phone call to Souness.
There were many others who took Ali Día's story as inspiration to try to gain a professional contract, but not many of them can say that they made their Premier League debut in doing so.
The Ali Dia Southampton Shirt which was sold on our site in 2020. One of the shirts we regret selling!
The Southampton 1995/97 home shirt as worn by Saints legends such as Matt Le Tissier, Neil Shipperley and the most famous of them all Ali Dia!
Would you like to ever add an Ali Dia shirt to your collection? Let us know below!