Ali Dia: The biggest fraudster in football history (part 2)

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ALI DIA, on right, PLAYS FOR SOUTHAMPTON IN A MATCH AGAINST LEEDS UNITED AT THE DELL IN NOVEMBER 1996. © Solent News & Photo Agency 02380 458800 WEBSITE USAGE: £50 per image, unless written agreement already in place with you.

Written by El-Khoury

The Senegalese swindler was the worst transfer of Southampton (and not only) but to all the football establishment. We continue our story from where we left off with our friend Ali Dia…

Read here the first part of the tribute related to Ali Dia.

Manager Harrison and the Sunday Mirror article published

Time passed without any proposal for our “talent” and so we addressed Harrison, who had a shop with sports equipment while he was working as a manager as well. He met Gateshead coach Colin Richardson. The team had won the promotion to the first category of amateur categories in England, but due to some situations it was going through a crisis. For calm and positive results to come again, a good transfer was needed. What is better than an international African footballer who has played in the Premier League?

On December 13, 1996, Dia signed till the end of the year. Just like in Finland and Germany, he started at Gateshead with some hints of talent. The “Sunday Mirror”, however, searched for the specific player and wrote an article about “Dias” case and had tried to deceive Bournemouth, Gilligham and Port Weil. It was also reported that he had played for Bologna, Paris Saint-Germain and the Senegalese national team which were false reports.

Dia responded to the post by giving an interview to the Post, which he referred to the “false allegations” against himself and noted that the player had recently scored in Senegal’s 3-1 win over Guinea for the World Cup qualifiers, 1998. However, Senegal never faced Guinea, as both teams were eliminated in the qualifying round by Togo.

The “answer” interview in the “Post”

“I have presented myself as a swindler and a bad footballer. I am not any of the two and I intend to prove the truth. I was obviously disappointed that I did not make it to the Premier League, but now all I care about is Gateshead. My contract is until the end of the year, but who knows? If all goes well, it can be renewed”.

However, things did not go well for Dias as he continued to perform without scoring, Gateshead was now close to relegation. In one of the matches he played, he scored a goal, but his team lost to Trelford and Richardson was fired. The days of “abundance” of Dias were now numbered as the team was taken over by Platt who had improved Gateshead and made them a better team. In the end, the team managed to save itself, but no proposal came for Dia, who was released at the end of the season. Then he managed to scrape through and join Spennymoor United, while in the 1997-98 season Alan Solnter, coach of the second team of Gateshead told Gibson that a player approached him in the team parking lot and asked to participate in the preseason trainings. His name is Ali Dia!

Studying and then turning to his “career”

After a second very short trial from Gateshead, he disappeared again. According to the «Scotsman», he graduated with a degree in Business and Economics from the University «Northumbria» in 200, and thereafter disappeared completely. His alleged Facebook account says he has a management company called GO2 Football Representation, but there is no such company in England.

Dia can be described as an… urban legend!

In 2008, a journalist claimed to have contacted Dia on his cell phone, but Dia abruptly closed the line and changed the number two days later. Many say that if Dias did not have 1-2 videos showing some of his photos, we could all assume that he is an urban legend and that he has never really existed. “Maybe he changed his name, or even it wasn’t his name from the beginning”, Harrison said. The belief of Harrison can be very true! Maybe he created “Ali Dia” to pursue his dream, become famous and then return to his normal life. Neither FIFA nor the Football Association of Senegal, give more information about him.

Fiction and his wife?

As for his wife, Dia told the Post in 1997 that he would move from France to England at the time to stay together. Harrison owned two houses. In one he lived himself and in the other he rented it for 6 months to Dia. “I never met his wife. During all his travels in Europe, no one has ever seen his wife, so it’s not at all unlikely that she’s also a part of his imagination”, Harrison said.

A lot of money has been stolen from football

However, through all this involvement in the football industry, Dias managed to make some money. From his small trip from Southampton to Gateshead he made 4,780 euros. Sunes, at the time coach of Southampton, admitted that his team paid him 2,730 euros for the 14 days, the period he was waiting for his transfer to Gateshead. In Gateshead he was one of the highest paid players. Gary Robson is said to have received 550 euros a week, with more than 300 appearances in the Football League. The Diaz took the same money with just entering in the Premier League!

Surely it is confirmed beyond a doubt in the case of Diaz is that he  was no family member of Weah, nor he was in the international team of Senegal, and in addition he had not worn the jerseys of Bologna and Paris Saint Germain, as he supported himself throughout his fake career. Nowadays, Dia is perhaps one of those ‘invisible’ managers who combined his degrees in Business to return to football, guiding young football talents, saying to them: “One day you will be able to compete in the Premier League, as I did once…”.