The Independent: We Track Down Britain’s First Sporting Streaker

The Independent finds Michael Angelow, the cover star of "Sticky Wickets". Adam Sherwin reports.


We track down Britain’s first sporting streaker - and he's planning a return to Lord’s. But Michael Angelow is a 62-year-old grandfather now and has turned down The Duckworth Lewis Method's request for a repeat performance.

He has lived a life of fully-clothed anonymity for 38 years. But the man who vaulted into cricket history when he became Britain's first sporting streaker has revealed that he is planning a shock return to Lords.

The Independent has tracked down Michael Angelow, the Merchant Navy cook who enlivened a slow day's play at the Lords Ashes Test match in August 1975, when he shed his clothes and made a naked dash across the playing area, in a gleeful moment of alcohol-fuelled spontaneity.

The famous image of Britain's first sporting streaker, hurdling the bails in triumph, has been chosen as the front cover of Sticky Wickets, the new album by the cricket-themed musical duo, The Duckworth Lewis Method.

The band launched an appeal for Angelow to come forward and repeat his feat for their new video. But Angelow, now a 62-year-old grandfather and keen gardener, who lives with his wife in a neat semi-detached bungalow in Luton, Beds, admits he has been trying to live down the incident ever since.

"I just couldn't believe all the fuss at the time. But I suppose I was at the HQ of cricket in front of all the old boys in their blazers and ties," said Angelow, who works as a chef in Hemel Hempstead but is reluctant for his colleagues to discover his claim to fame.

Angelow, who was arrested and fined £20 for outraging public decency, does regret failing to cash in on the streaker trend, which has become embedded in Britain's sporting life. "I did get offers to give interviews and appear on TV but I turned them all down," he said. "I never did it with the aim of making any money - just the bet, but maybe looking back, I should have been like (Twickenham streaker) Erica Rowe and cashed in on it."

Angelow, who remains a big cricket fan, plans to be at Lord's when the England v Australia Ashes returns to St John's Wood later this month. But he won't come out of retirement. "I never streaked again, that was the one and only time," he said.

At the time of the pitch invasion, Angelow was a Merchant Navy cook working on board BP oil tankers. He and a shipmate were on shore-leave when they went to the match.

Angelow recalled that by the afternoon session, the game looked to be heading for a draw and having downed "a few beers", he got caught up in the crowd banter between England and Australian fans.

When it was suggested how the game could be livened up and there was a £20 bet at stake, Michael then 24, and being a "normal sort of bloke for my age", rose to the challenge.

Wearing just socks and trainers he set off running across the playing area. "I can remember seeing the players Alan Knott and David Steele on the pitch - that's it. I didn't have any plan, just to keep running. When I reached the wicket I jumped over it but that hadn't been my intention. I didn't know how far I would get."

The picture taken of Michael from behind leaping over the bails with his left arm raised, appeared in papers and on television around the world. Moments after the leap he was arrested and appeared in court the next day.

"I remember the magistrate asking me how much the bet had been for and I said £20. He said 'right we'll have then then' and that was it." Michael returned to his ship and he continued his career in the Merchant Navy for another six years.

The Independent - Adam Sherwin

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