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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Con-Trick Sets Player On Weah

LONDON -- So many foreigners are now playing in England there seemed nothing out of the ordinary when Southampton manager Graeme Souness took a call from George Weah recommending his friend Ali Dia for a trial.


Dia, said the caller, was a Senegalese international who had played for Paris St. Germain and Bologna. In fact, Souness was about to fall victim to "soccer's con-trick of the decade," according to one tabloid. Southampton gave Dia a brief trial, obtained his international clearance on Nov. 22 and a day later he made his premier league debut for the Saints against Leeds, coming on as a 32nd minute substitute for the injured Matthew Le Tissier.


But Dia's display was one of such ineptitude he was called off 52 minutes later and his contract was cancelled after 14 days.


It then came out that Weah never recommended the player -- and claims not to know him -- and Dia had failed to impress with trials at first division Port Vale or Portsmouth or second division Gillingham and Bournemouth. Port Vale showed him the door after one reserve match.


Dia has played for Senegal and for a German second division side, but never played for PSG and has never even been to Italy.


Souness said: "I have not met George Weah but I have heard his voice on TV and radio and the man on the phone sounded similar. I don't feel I have been duped in the slightest because that's the way the world is these days.''


Dia did make his mark this weekend -- scoring for minor league Gateshead in a 5-0 win over Bath in front of 400 fans.


Dia said afterwards: I have been made to look a con-man, it's not true. I do know George Weah, but I am certainly not his best mate. I employed an agent when I came to England, and he is the con-man. He must have been calling all these clubs pretending to be George.''


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England forward Nick Barmby headed a late goal to give Everton a 1-0 English premier league win at Derby.


Barmby reacted quickly to score from point blank range in the 86th minute after midfielder Joe Parkinson's 25-meter effort had rebounded off the crossbar.


Everton's victory lifted them into seventh place, eight points behind leaders Arsenal.


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Wimbledon's Vinnie Jones was fined a week's pay by his club Monday for writing a mocking newspaper article that offended his teammates.


The rebellious Wales international has also agreed to donate his ?2,000 ($3,320) fee from the paper to the players' pool.


His story assessed his colleagues on their abilities at the bar and on the catwalk, as well as in a "ruck" [fight]. Jones said: "I have explained to the lads that it was supposed to be a joke, a Christmassy, pull-your-leg sort of stunt. But it's gone completely wrong."