Watch: Graeme Souness Reveals Real Story Behind Playing Ali Dia

Watch: Graeme Souness Reveals Real Story Behind Playing Ali Dia

Ali Dia is without doubt the biggest chancer to ever grace the Premier League. He may have only played around 50 minutes of football, but it was 50 minutes too many.

The story of how he ended up at Southampton is well-known at this stage. The club got a phone call saying that George Weah's cousin was available, and Graeme Souness ended up playing him that weekend after a few days on trial.

It is often said that the club and manager were conned, but speaking on Sky Sports the Scot said he knew Dia was useless. It's just that he didn't have another player to use instead.


It's a great and funny story, but it's not quite what you read or hear. Someone in the club got a phone call saying George Weah's cousin was in England and was looking to join a football club, he wanted a trial.

Matt will know that at that time we had such a small club that we would have trialists all the time...

This guy turns up. Anyone who's been involved in football, you would know in the first five minutes of a small-sided game if the boy can play or not. Within the first five minutes on the Monday morning we say 'he ain't for us, he's hopeless'.

But we didn't have enough players to have an eight-a-side, so we kept him for a week. As the week goes on we had more and more people get injured.

We were looking at Leeds United on the Saturday, and Matt [Le Tissier] was only fit forward and he got injured after 20 minutes.

I'm looking down the bench and we've got centre halves, right backs, and left backs, and we've got this guy. Terry Cooper said during the week, 'you're going to have to have that fool on the bench, we just don't have any other striker'.

We put him on the bench, worst case scenario he goes on and runs around and be a pest.

Matt gets injured, he comes on. He was everywhere the ball had just been, it's as if he had never been on a football pitch before.

No one was kidded, no one was conned.

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Gary Connaughton

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