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Matt Le Tissier reveals what he was thinking when Ali Dia joined Southampton

le tissier dia

“Ali Dia was one of those players. I thought he’d won a competition or something.”

Matt Le Tissier thought Ali Dia had won a competition to play for Southampton after a mix-up meant Dia infamously played one game for the club despite being released from Blyth Spartans.

During the 1996/97 season, Graeme Souness received a phone call, allegedly from World Footballer of the Year George Weah, informing him of his cousin, a Senegalese international who played for PSG, Ali Dia.

matt le tissier

Matt Le Tissier.

“It was a bizarre situation,” Le Tissier told Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast.

“The kid comes in training, claiming to be George Weah’s cousin. To this day, we don’t actually know who made that phone call into the football club.

“It could have been Ali Dia himself who made the call, it would be fantastic just to hear from him, to actually see if he would admit who made it but it was odd.”

ali dia

Southampton trials.

Southampton would regularly have players on trials during the mid-1990s due to budget constraints.

One example Le Tissier gave was when Norwegian forwards Edil Ostenstad and Tore Andre Flo both had a trial with the Saints under Graeme Souness.

“You’d have other players who’d come in, train a couple of days, and you’d think they’re not going to be here very long,” Le Tissier continued.

“Ali Dia was one of those players. I thought he’d won a competition or something.”

matt le tissier

Southampton v Leeds.

Somehow, Dia managed to make the squad for Southampton’s upcoming game against Leeds United.

“On the Friday before we played Leeds at the Dell and he plays in this five-a-side, and he’s not very good,” Le Tissier stated.

“The following day at 1.30 pm, we’re in the changing room and he’s there.

“I was like, ‘Jesus, that is a really good competition he’s won’. He’s not only training with us, he’s going to get to hear the team talk and everything.

“Graeme Souness names the team, then he names the three subs. Ali Dia was amongst the subs, and we’re all looking around.

“Now, I know we had a few injuries at the time, but surely it wasn’t that bad.”

Le Tissier’s injury.

Le Tissier would be unable to play on after picking up an injury that week so therefore, had to be substituted for Southampton’s newest signing.

“I just went to cross a ball, and it was the same pain from the day before,” he said.

“I thought, ‘that doesn’t feel too good’. So, I put my hand up, I can’t carry on. Then, to my enormous delight, I see this geezer warming up.”

“That was it. I’m off and he’s on and then he runs around like he’s on ice for a little while. He almost scores actually, he had an absolute sitter and completely missed his kick in front of the goal.

“Graeme Souness realised late on in the second half that actually he couldn’t play, and he subbed him off again.

“That was the last we saw of him. He never turned up for training on the Monday, and he disappeared.

“I’ve never heard from him again since!”

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