This week on Benched, we dig into what’s been called the biggest scam in British Premier League’s history - the swift rise, and even swifter fall, of Ali Dia.
The popular legend goes a bit like this: in 1996, Southampton’s manager, Graeme Souness, received a phone call from someone claiming to be footballing superstar George Weah recommending the signing of his cousin, Ali Dia.
After being subbed in on a game against Leeds, Dia lived out the fantasy of millions by playing Premiership football, albeit not very well, for 43 minutes - before vanishing for decades.
In today’s episode of Benched, guest host Robbie Knox (Soccer AM) gets the story from Kelly Naqi, the journalist responsible for finally tracking Dia down twenty years after his Southampton debut (...and farewell).
Naqi is quick to point out it’s still not clear if this infamous, chant-inspiring event was a scam - or something much more innocent. She details how she finally found him due to an investigation that took her all the way to Sudan, only to end up back in London. Listen to the whole episode here, or wherever you get your podcasts.