CBOBs rugby is about to celebrate it’s 70th Anniversary and over that time we’ve had some members who’ve made a name for themselves but it could be said that none have made more of an impact than Michael O’Brien.
With apologies to Michael we recount his story here.
Michael, an SPX old boy, played, and was on the committee, for CBOBs in the 60’s though he’s most famously known as The Twickenham Streaker and, has the dubious honour of being recognised as the first ever streaker at a major sporting event.
As with anything of this nature there’s always a great story to be told.
The year was 1974. England and France were playing a test at Twickenham in front of 53,000 spectators that included Princess Alexandra in the royal box and Fosters had just arrived in the UK.
It seems that after a few beers amongst friends the conversation turned to the chances of being able to run across the field naked and reach the fence on the other side of the ground. Needless to say, from there a bet was made for the princely sum of £10 and a plan was hatched.
As half time approached Michael stripped and waited for the players to clear the field.
With the field clear the Michael jumped the fence, made his way to the half way line, and took off across the field in all his naked glory. As a buzz rose from the crowd Michael approached the the fence on the other side but was confronted by a bobby before he could complete his run.
It seems the London Police have a good sense of humour and when Michael explained the bet they escorted him to the fence to let him touch it and win his £10 bet, coincidentally, the same amount the magistrate fined him on the Monday. They also processed him in time to make it back for the second half. WINNING!!!
As he was being led away Ian Bradshaw took his iconic photo and, as they say, the rest is history. The image won LIFE magazine’s “Picture of the Year” award, People Magazine Picture of The Decade and a World Press Photo Award and the word ‘streaking’ first entered the English language.
The Rugby Club in London erected a statue by Walter Keethner, based on the shot. It appeared on greeting cards and billboards in Britain, and in Australia Holeproof used it as part of an advertisement in 1991, much to Michael’s disgust. “[It] implies I am in some way endorsing Holeproof products, which isn’t the case,” he said. The ad had him asking the bobby for directions to a “20 per cent off Holeproof underwear sale.” In 1995, a British telecommunications company used to photo to advertise that phone numbers were having a digit added.
Of course we all know you haven’t made it until your famous photo has been replicated in Lego by Mike Stimpson
Unfortunately the stunt cost Michael his London stock broking job and he later returned to Australia where he played 207 games for Melbourne Rugby Club.
When once asked if he had any advice for anyone thinking of doing the same thing Michael’s response was;
Thanks Michael for the great story and we’ll hopefully see you at our 70th Anniversary Celebration.
Recall this and many more memories at our 70th Anniversary Celebration and don’t forget to email our President to book your table of 10. Details below.
See you all at our 70th Anniversary Celebration dinner.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this very special night.
WHAT: Brothers 70th Anniversary Celebration
DATE: Saturday 29th April 2017 – 7:00pm – 11:30pm
VENUE: The Concourse Victoria Ave Chatswood – Civic Pavilion
To reserve a table of 10 contact our President on firstname.lastname@example.org