It's A Christmas Knockout 1970

Festive Jeux Sans Frontières Special

Entrants 1970: Great Britain (GB) • Netherlands (NL) 

David Vine and Eddie Waring (GB)
Dick Passchier and Barend Barendse (NL)

Referees: Arthur Ellis and Ben Bril

Producers: Barney Colehan and Dick Van Bommel
Director: Dick Van 'T Sant
Produced by BBC North West (GB), NCRV (NL)

International Christmas Special
= Winner of Christmas Special

  ▲ = Promoted to Position / ▼ = Demoted to Position



It's A Christmas Knockout 1970

Christmas Special

Event Staged: Saturday 5th December 1970, afternoon
Venue: Groenoordhallen (North Lobby Hall), Leiden, Netherlands

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
Saturday 26th December 1970, 2.02-3.00pm (Tweede Kerstdag)
BBC1 (GB): Saturday 26th December 1970, 2.25-3.15pm (Boxing Day)

Theme: Festive Fun

Teams: Great Yarmouth (GB) v. Alphen aan den Rijn (NL)

Team Members included:
Great Yarmouth (GB) -
Arthur Bowles (Team Coach), Peter Bonetti and John Hollins from Chelsea Football Club, Andy Aliffe, Lesley Bircham, Terry Bryan, David Bullent, Martin Hardy, Sandra King, Herbert Mather, Lyn Maynard, Don McCondach, John Norfolk, Paul Panther, Sarah Pitts, Mike Rogers, Stephanie White, Terry Wing;

Alphen aan den Rijn (NL) - Jan Van Beveren of PSV Eindhoven Football Club and Johan Cruyff of Ajax Football Club.

Games: Swinging the Snowballs, Christmas Tree Hats, Fathers Christmas, Bells on Sleighs, Santa’s Surprise, Duel of the Snowmen, Chasing the Reindeer and Happy New Year!

Game Results and Standings





 NL • Alphen aan den Rijn
 GB • Great Yarmouth


The Host Town

Leiden, Netherlands

Leiden is a city which lies at sea level elevation with a population of around 120,000 inhabitants in the province of South Holland. It is situated on the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) river, a 52km (32¼ miles) branch of the Rhine, and is located 16km (10 miles) north-east of Den Haag and 36km (22¼ miles) south-west of Amsterdam. The city lies at what has traditionally been an important junction where waterways and roads cross and will enchant all who visit. The city is famous for its almshouses, university, museums and glorious history. The spirit of the Golden Age lives on here, a place where artist Rembrandt (1606-1669) was born and inspired so many other influential painters. But even after this era, Leiden continued to attract scientists, artists and industry. The canals, the historical buildings, the alleyways, the treasuries of knowledge, culture and science in Leiden are definitely worth a visit.

By the end of the 15th century, Leiden was the largest city in the county of Holland. This was largely due to the international cloth-making industry. However, the economic tide began to turn with the advent of the 16th century. The reformation led to mass prosecution of Protestants and in 1572, Leiden joined the Dutch resistance against Spain's oppression. The people of Leiden succumbed to disease and starvation and the Spanish nearly conquered the city. However, they successfully drove the troops out on 3rd October 1574. The great liberation, known as Leidens Ontzet (Relief of Leiden), is still lavishly celebrated today. This huge party is not the only result of the Spanish occupation but also that the city was allegedly given the university as a reward for its heroic resistance.


Morspoort, Leiden's west gate, was constructed in 1669
and was originally used as a prison


The Relief marked the beginning of a new Golden Age. In 1577, tens of thousands of Dutch people from the south flocked to Leiden on account of their Calvinist faith. These were experienced textile workers and business people who helped revive the failing wool industry in Leiden with new products, techniques, capital and labour and Leiden became the second largest city after Amsterdam. Despite major plague epidemics, the population quadrupled resulting in the city being expanded in 1611, 1644 and again in 1659, when the network of canals was laid out in its current incarnation. At the height of the boom around 1670, the city was densely populated by some 60,000 people. After Amsterdam, Leiden is the city with the most canals with the city’s historic centre having more than 28km (17¼ miles) of canals and waterways. To cross all these waterways, you obviously need bridges, and Leiden has no less than 88!

The city’s wool industry was steadily declining in the 18th century with work drying up and people moving elsewhere. This downturn caused by the failing wool industry led to unrest and the ongoing war waged by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) only aggravated the situation. The final straw came when Leiden was struck by catastrophic disaster. On 12th January 1807, a ship loaded with 17,400kg (38,360lb) of gunpowder exploded in the middle of Leiden, killing 151 persons. Over 2000 others were injured and some 220 homes were destroyed. King Louis Bonaparte (1778-1846) personally visited the city to provide assistance to the victims. Although located in the centre of the city, the area destroyed remained empty for many years, with the space eventually turned into a public park in 1886.

After 1815, the city began to show signs of recovery once more when Leiden's industry began to diversify during the second half of the century with emerging new sectors such as metal, printing and canning. Leiden underwent a dramatic transformation during the last 30 years of the 20th century. In the 1960s, it was a rundown industrial city with the university as its main claim to fame. By the early 1980s, the industries had disappeared, and unemployment was rampant. However, the city managed to again bounce back by tapping into new sectors.

The Visiting Towns

Great Yarmouth is a town with a population of around 100,000 inhabitants in the English county of Norfolk and is located 195km (121 miles) west of Leiden.

Alphen aan den Rijn is a town with a population of around 150,000 inhabitants in the Dutch province of Zuid-Holland and is located 11km (7 miles) east of Leiden.

The Venue


The games were played in the Groenoordhallen which was built in 1969 and was a complex of halls originally used to host the large regional cattle market in the city. For this reason it was located virtually in the centre of the city. However, following the FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) crisis of 2001, the cattle market was no longer viable and finally closed its doors in 2005. Following some renovation work, the hall was reopened and hosted many national and international trade fairs, events, exams, product presentations, conferences, concerts and parties. Examples include Disney on Ice, paranormal shows and concerts by Genesis, U2, The Police, Dire Straits, Iron Maiden, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Metallica, Santana, Kiss, The Osmonds and the Backstreet Boys.

The former Groenoordhallen which was demolished in 2010


In 2006, the Groenoordhallen played host to tennis. A Davis Cup promotion / relegation match between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic was held there, with the Netherlands losing 1-4 and being relegated. However despite all its uses, it was decided that the hall had ran its life by the middle of 2009, and in order to make way for homes and business premises, the Groenoordhallen would have to be demolished. The demolition was postponed until mid-2010 and when the work finally started, only the tower and part of Escher Groenoord Plaza remained.

Photographs from this Event

Chelsea footballers Peter Bonetti and John Hollins
posing with the Great Yarmouth team
The Great Yarmouth team in action during rehearsals
of the ‘Bells on Sleighs’ game
The Great Yarmouth team in action during rehearsals
of the ‘Chasing the Reindeer’ game

Additional Information

This was the first of fifteen Christmas editions which ran annually, concurrent with the main Jeux Sans Frontières series. It ended up surviving for two additional years after its parent series first closed for business in 1982.

This event was staged on the same day as Round 2, Heat 1 (1970-71) of the Dutch domestic series Zeskamp at the same Groenoordhallen venue. The Christmas show was recorded in the afternoon, with the Zeskamp heat being staged and transmitted live from 8.00-9.35pm that evening.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives


JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Neil Storer and Alan Hayes
with Ischa Bijl, Julien Dessy, Sébastien Dias, David Hamilton, Denis Kirsanov, Paul Leaver, Philippe Minet,
Christos Moustakas, David Laich Ruiz, Marko Voštan and JSFnet Websites