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 on Saturday May 4 between 11am-12pm. 

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.

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."

Free tickets for the talk in Middlesbrough Town Hall's Courtroom can be booked here