Balson, Michael

Birth Date

9th September 1947





Biographical Text

Balson signed a full contract with the Grecians in August 1965, having been on amateur forms for the previous three months.

He made his debut as a centre-forward, but he was to become known as a defender, although did play up front occasionally.

A one-club player is a rare event these days, but Balson was certainly that as he made his debut for Exeter City in the penultimate game of the 1966-67 season - a 2-2 draw at Bradford Park Avenue. He retained his place in the following and final match at home to Notts County.

An uncompromising defender, Balson served the Grecians through until the 1973-74 season totting up over 300 league and cup appearances.

At the end of that season he was released by City, but surprisingly did not play for another club in this country at senior level, despite the fact he was still only 27years old.

Instead he headed for South Africa and Johannesburg where he appeared for the Highlands Park club.

He returned to England in December 1976 and then signed a one-month deal back at Exeter City, although he never made a first team outing.

He then took his family to Atlanta, United States, in 1979 to play for a professional soccer team called the Atlanta Chiefs, owned by media mogul Ted Turner.

Since then he has been a coach, an official and has been inducted in the United Soccer League and Officials Hall of Fame.

There surely cannot be another former Exeter City player, who on hanging up his boots, later commenced selling sausages in America! For this is exactly what ex-Grecian defender Mike Balson did.

Balson, who descended from a long line of English butchers, finally brought the family sausage recipe to the States.

"I grew up in the butcher shop in Bridport and as far as I can remember I was making sausages," Balson said. "My dad taught me when I was about 5 years old and in those days you had to make them by hand."

Balson, who works for Angel Food Ministries, decided to sell the "bangers" in the U.S. as a part of the organisation's ministry and from there started an online store in May 2008.

"What we do (at Angel Food Ministries) is start up churches with a food ministry," Balson said. "One day I was looking at the sausages and they just didn't look very good and I said we could do our English sausages.

“We got the authentic recipe; we got permission from my brother who runs the butchers shop in Bridport."

RJ Balson & Son of Bridport, who claim to be England's oldest family butchers, made 500,000 pounds of sausages for Angel Food Ministries.

Now Mike and his son Oliver Balson, a professor at the University of Arkansas, are focusing on their Web-based business.

Balson stated that there is a big difference in the sausages that Americans eat compared to English sausages, starting with the taste.

The sausages are sold by the pound on, which is five sausage links per pound.



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