I've been saving this for the holidays. It's a chunky 5,700, ~45-minute read, but what else are you going to be doing over Christmas?
On Nov. 23, 1996, Ali Dia appeared as a substitute for Southampton in a Premier League match. Deemed out of his depth by his manager, Graeme Souness, he was substituted before full-time. Soon after, Dia was released by the club and accused of perpetrating the most sensational scam in football history.
In the two decades since, the legend of Ali Dia has grown with every telling. The man has become a punchline. His name has become synonymous with terrible performances, terrible transfer signings and sporting dishonesty.
But the real story of Ali Dia has never been told. And the man himself has never shared his version of events. Until now.