By Tosh Warwick
Tuesday 30 Apr 2019 15:34:00
Browse all Boro News articles

This Saturday, May 4th (11:00-12:00) the story of one of the biggest shocks in FIFA World Cup history comes to Middlesbrough Town Hall as part of this year’s Middlesbrough Local History Month programme. North Korea’s famous Pak Doo Ik inspired win over Italy at Ayresome Park in 1966 and bonds between Teesside and North Korea (DPRK) will be the focus of a talk in the recently renovated Courtroom by historian and Boro fan Dr Tosh Warwick.

North Korea

The event follows the publication of ‘The FIFA World Cup, International Friendship and the “Mystery Men of the East”: When Middlesbrough Fell in Love with North Korea’ in the North Korean Review, the world’s only English language journal devoted wholly to the study of North Korea. Published by McFarland Books in the USA, the special edition features research from workshops held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) including the tale of Teessiders’ growing support for the ‘mystery men of the east’ during the 1966 FIFA World Cup and the relationship in the twenty-first century. Details of the unique Middlesbrough-North Korean international bond will also feature in the Playing Pasts online magazine for Sport and Leisure History later in the month.

N Korea lcal press

Dr Tosh Warwick said: “The story of Boro’s connection with the North Korean football heroes of 1966 is one of a most unlikely international friendship that has endured into the twenty-first century. The talk explores the story of 1966 and the various ways the relationship has evolved since. As well as looking at football it also looks at the role played by the fantastic Game of Their Lives documentary, arts initiatives, cultural exchanges and visits to Teesside and Pyongyang”

“At a time of heightened focus on problems of racism in football, the story of the Boro-Pyongyang connection illustrates how football can help bring different cultures and peoples together”.

Dr. Tosh Warwick's talk is part of a month of walks, talks, open days and events that stretch through May as part of Middlesbrough Local History Month. Highlights include a chance for a freelift to the top of the Transporter Bridge (Wed 29th May) and celebrations of ten years at RSPB Saltholme.


Free tickets for the talk in Middlesbrough Town Hall’s Courtroom can be booked at Town Hall Box Office

N Korea

Photo credits -

Top Photo - North Korean players return to Ayresome Park in 2002 (Karen Shields and Middlesbrough Council)

North Korean players celebrate victory over Italy (Middlesbrough Football Club)

Local media coverage of North Korea's preparations (Middlesbrough Libraries / Teesside Gazette)

Bottom photo: North Korea line up to face Italy (Teesside Gazette)




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