NORTH KOREA have taken the first step of investing in English football.. by sponsoring non-league side Blyth Spartans.

The communist state, run by despot Kim Jong-un, have advertising boards at the National League North side's ground Croft Park.

A statement on the North Korean tourist board’s website reads: “Visit North Korea is pleased to announce a sponsorship deal with English football club Blyth Spartans F.C.

“The club, based in Northumbria, near Newcastle Upon Tyne, now hosts a banner for the company in their stadium, known as Croft Park.

“Links to Visit North Korea will also appear on their website and social media.

“Although it is certainly unique and unconventional, Visit North Korea is nevertheless proud to be able to help support the great English game at a local level and secure publicity for clubs in the North of England.

“In the process, by promoting our programs we aim to help people broaden their horizons and think differently about the world.”

The side revealed the news of their latest deal in the pre-match programme for their Boxing Day showdown, but fans were left with more questions than answers.

During the match - a 2-2 draw with Spennymoor Town supporters flocked to Twitter to speak of their bewilderment.

One fan wrote: "The tourist agency for the People’s Republic of North Korea are advertising at Croft Park in Blyth, Northumberland. Wow."

Another added: "Blyth Spartans have acquired a ‘Visit North Korea’ advertising board at Croft Park. So many questions."

They went on to ask talkSPORT's Max Rushden: "@maxrushden is this the oddest advert seen at a football ground? One for the podcast?"

Blyth Spartans' Twitter account later went on to tell all about their deal with North Korea.

They wrote: "For those that like to travel to far flung places our new @blyth_Spartans advertiser @Visit_DPRK would love to hear from you!

"Thanks to @Visit_DPRK for your support and if anyone there needs a team to follow @blyth_Spartans isn't be a bad choice."

However, while most fans saw the funny side, it's fair to say not everyone did.

One Twitter user wrote: @blyth_Spartans What is wrong with you?"

"Anyone who visits DPRK for pleasure is an idiot - don’t encourage people to help fund this oppressive regime."