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The story behind the picture – Monday night football with a difference

Workington has been involved in some weird and wonderful friendly matches over the years and none more so than the 1978 encounter against the Zambia national team.

They were on a brief tour of Britain and played three games in the north west, including the fixture at Borough Park and a match against Wigan Athletic.

The game at Workington took place on Monday 16 October and the photograph shows Reds’ skipper, Mick Leng, greeting his Zambian counterpart with local referee, Jack Renney, in the background.

Walter Gillott opened the scoring, bagging the only goal of the first half, with four more netted after the break as the Reds emerged narrow 3-2 winners.

Brothers Dave and Jimmy Irving got their names on the score sheet but it was an interesting tussle and our new found friends stayed in contention with goals from Godfrey Chitalu and Bizwell Phiri.

Chitalu is still the record scorer for the Zambia national team to this day.

A near 600 crowd turned out to see the game which saw former Newcastle United, Sunderland, Carlisle United and Scotland defender, Bobby Moncur, make a guest appearance for Reds.

  • Nearly fifteen years later, the Zambia national team was involved in a plane crash on their way to play a World Cup qualifier in Senegal. Sadly, all their players and staff perished.

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