Mike Balson, from Bridport in Dorset, signed as a professional for Exeter City in 1965 and played 276 league games for the club before making his final appearance in 1974. Playing his final Football League game at the age of twenty-six he briefly played in South Africa ahead of eventually spending the rest of his life in the United States.
Mike, a member of a well-known family of butchers in Bridport, signed a full contract with the Grecians in August 1965 having been on amateur forms for the previous three months.
After playing for the youth team in a variety of positions, Mike made his debut as a striker in the penultimate game of the 1966-67 season - a 2-2 draw at Bradford Park Avenue - and retained his place for the following match at home to Notts County. He later settled into the role of an uncompromising defender and 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 even though he was still only 26-years-old. Instead he headed for Johannesburg where he appeared for the Highlands Park club.
Returning to England in December 1976, Mike signed a one-month deal back at Exeter City but never made a first-team outing. He then returned to South Africa before moving to the United States to play for Atlanta Chiefs owned by media mogul Ted Turner. After finishing playing Mike remained in America and became a coach and an official.
Mike died on 30 May 2019.
Appearances as Substitute
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