Chelsea born right winger Ben Bateman was originally a schoolteacher by profession. He began his youth career at Sutton Court, an amateur club based in Middlesex, in 1912 and signed for Southern League Crystal Palace in the close season of 1913. Bateman became an England amateur international, playing on a tour to Scandinavia, winning two caps against Denmark and Sweden in June 1914. However, his career was then interrupted by service during World War One, during which he served as a sergeant in the 2nd (City of London) Battalion of The Royal Fusiliers, but he returned to play for the club when peacetime football resumed in 1919.
Bateman made 74 appearances in the Southern League for Palace, scoring four goals, and played in their famous FA Cup giant killing 2-0 win over Manchester City in 1921. In 1920, when Crystal Palace became a founder member of the Third Division, Bateman made the transition to professional football playing in their inaugural Football League fixture at Merthyr Town in August 1920. He became a regular in the side that won the inaugural Third Division Championship in 1920-21, making 32 appearances without scoring. After one season in the Second Division, Bateman’s appearances became less frequent over the subsequent two seasons and he moved on to Dartford in August 1924 after 11 goals in 180 appearances for Crystal Palace, 99 of which came in the Football League (6 goals).