Clumsy, inept, awkward, embarrassing and awful. Yes Ali Dia really was a one-off, but for all the wrong reasons.
The Senegalese footballer, if you can call him that, managed to spectacularly con Southampton manager Graeme Souness into playing him in a Premier League match against Leeds United on the 23rd of November 1996.
A bogus football agent rang Souness claiming he had a Senegal international striker available called Ali Dia who was the cousin of former world footballer of the year George Weah.
Gullible Souness lapped it up and decided to give ‘Weah’s cousin’ a one month contract, handing him his Premier League debut in the match against Leeds.
Dia came on as a substitute for Matthew Le Tissier after 32 minutes, but his performance was so utterly dreadful that he was substituted for Graeme Le Saux’s ‘friend’ Ken Monkou in the 53rd minute.
In 21 minutes Dia missed an open goal and was unable to control the ball. We know what you’re thinking, but at least Emile Heskey can hold the ball up… sometimes.
Anyway, after being subbed by Souness, Dia unsurprisingly never played for the Saints again. He did in fact re-surface at Gateshead several months later, only to find himself woefully off the pace required at Conference standard.