Perhaps no list of worst footballers can ever be complete without the name of the Senegalese 31 year old who tricked his way into top tier football in England but performed woefully on his debut.
Ali Dia was born on August 20, 1965. He began his career playing for clubs at lower levels in France and Germany. He debuted for Beauvais in 1988 making his only appearance for the club. He then moved to Dijon in 1989 where he made only 3 appearances. From Dijon, he moved to LA Rochelle in 1991 and then to Saint Quentin where he had 6 appearances and only one goal. He later joined Blyth Spartans and made his only appearance for the club on November 9th, 1996 against Boston United.
A few days later, he pulled what is now considered as one of the biggest pranks in English football history. The Southampton coach at the time, Greame Souness received a phone call from a person who claimed to be the then-FIFA World player of the year, ‘George Weah’. He was told that Dia was Weah’s cousin, had played for PSG and had made 13 appearances for his country. The caller was actually one of Dia’s University mates. Souness saw this as a massive opportunity to sign a potential world class player, and without much hesitation, he signed Dia on a one month contract.
Dia debuted for Southampton on November 23rd, 1996 against Leeds United. He wore the number 33 jersey for his first and last game in top tier football. During the match, he was brought on in place of club legend, Mathew Le Tisser in the 32nd minute of the game. His performance on that day was widely seen as the worst performance from a premier league debutant in English football history. He had only one shot (which was mercifully on target) but overall, his performance was very poor. He was substituted in the 85th minute and Leeds eventually won the match by 2 goals to zero. Le Tisser commented on Dia’s performance stating “he ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice ; it was very embarrassing to watch”. The next morning, Dia was nowhere to be found.
Two weeks later, Southampton ended his contract. Dia was later signed by Gateshead where he scored on his debut in a 5-0 win against Bath City. He left the club in February 1997 having played only eight games.
Dia went on to study business at Northumbria University in Newcastle and graduated in 2001. He also obtained a Master of Business Administration from San Francisco State University in 2003. His son Simon plays for Police Tero(Thai premier league).
After his game against Leeds, he was subsequently described as one of the worst players in history. The Times Newspaper even named him No 1 in a list of 50 worst footballers. He is also featured regularly in lists of worst transfers in European football.



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