FOR anybody seeking escapism from the nerve-shredding fight for Football League survival or, indeed, a timely reminder of York City’s proud past, then Chris Jones’ new book The Tale Of Two Great Cities might just provide the tonic.

Jones’ 242-page tome has been released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of City’s first of two seasons as an old second division outfit in 1974/75.

The author led the line for the Minstermen, alongside Jimmy Seal, during those heady days and the whole period is retold by the 69-year-old radio pundit and school teacher, who still lives and runs a guest house in his adopted city.

Almost a quarter of Jones’ “footballing journey” is dedicated to his York years and it includes insights into the contrasting managerial approaches of Tom Johnston and his hapless successor Wilf McGuinness, along with stories from the club’s tours of Iceland and Majorca, as well as trips to some of the game’s most famous venues when City were plying their trade at the same level as Manchester United.

A row over players’ car park spaces, which almost led to a strike on the eve of the club’s first-ever game in the second tier, is also detailed and, with so few published accounts of ex-City players’ careers on the market, Jones’ autobiography provides a rare insider’s view into life at Bootham Crescent.

In recent memory, only the likes of Keith Houchen, Denis Smith and Clarke Carlisle have released titles containing excerpts from their spells in North Yorkshire.

Jones, therefore, is hoping his tale can fill a literary gap on the bookshelves of City supporters.

He said: “Nobody from York City, who actually played for the club at that time, has written a book about those glorious days in the old second division. With the club due to move out of Bootham Crescent next year, it’s the right time for supporters to read about their club.

“There are stories about some of the characters I played with and the managers I played under, as well as memories of our league games against the likes of Manchester United and Bobby Moore’s Fulham.

The kids at Tadcaster Grammar (where Jones works) were always asking when was I going to write a book and I decided to start it about five years ago. Like everybody, with so many things going on life, it’s been difficult to find time, but I’ve really knuckled down over the last year and got it all down.”

Jones said the help of City’s club historian Dave Batters was invaluable prior to his death last year with his renowned attention to detail and access to all the facts and figures concerning the club.

Aside from informing City supporters, the author also put pen to paper as a legacy for his family and a dedication to his late Uncle Bill - the driving force behind his dream to become a professional footballer.

Those formative years play a significant part in the book’s appeal.

Jones’ story is not one of countless club scouts knocking on his family’s door. Having been overlooked, he was forced to prove himself at an open trial and his anxiety in that situation will resonate with anybody who has gone through the same ordeal.

Ultimately, he makes the grade at Manchester City but, even when he is summoned to Maine Road to sign amateur forms, swelling with pride, nobody turns up and he is told to return the next day.

His tale is one of determination - a quality that stayed with him during his early years as a professional when he contended with serious injuries, abuse from his own fans and missing out on his only chance of playing at Wembley.

But football ultimately sees him score past Gordon Banks, play against George Best in an all-Manchester FA Youth Cup semi-final watched by more than 50,000 fans and places him within a mile of where Senator Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, leading to crossed wires with Manchester City having a player of the same name at the time.

There are also memories of an almighty riot in Naples during an abandoned Anglo-Italian Cup final and the uncovering of the writer’s rebellious streak when he throws a football boot at one of his managers.

For fans of the other “great city” in Jones’ life, there are several anecdotes, meanwhile, about Maine Road legends such as Malcolm Allison and Bert Trautmann.

Jones’ book will be launched in Friargate’s Quaker Meeting House on Monday night, as part of the York Literature Festival’s An Evening With The Minstermen event, where he will take part in a discussion, along with myself and BBC Radio York’s David Ward and Sharon Shortle.

Tickets cost £7, with £2 donated to York City’s Foundation.

They can be bought online at or by phoning 01904 623568.