Hackney, London born outside left Ben Ives began his football career with Page Street Old Boys, playing for Romford and Tufnell Park in 1907, from where he signed for First Division club Tottenham Hotspur in 1908. He stayed two seasons on the books at White Hart Lane without breaking through into the first team, playing 59 matches for their reserves in the South Eastern League then signing for Lancashire Combination club Barrow in 1910. After two further seasons with The Bluebirds, he transferred to Southern League club Exeter City in the summer of 1912, and made his debut in their Southern League fixture at West Ham United in August of that year.
When he signed for Exeter the following article appeared in the local press:
“Benjamin Ives, like Spencer Bassett, is London born, his birthplace being Hackney. He is now 21 years of age, stands 5 ft. 8 ins., and weighs 10st.10lbs. He won his place in the Rushmore School team the year before he left school, and then joined Page Green Old Boys, a well known senior amateur club in the North London area. Ives at that time was only fifteen. He had been with them nearly a season when he was signed as an amateur for Crystal Palace. Ives at that time was seventeen, tall and slim, as he still is, and played mainly at inside-left. He then signed professional forms for Tottenham Hotspur, playing 32 matches for the Spurs’ Reserves in the South-Eastern League in his first season with them, and 27 in his second, a good record for one of his age. Barrow-in-Furness next secured his signature, and he played there for two seasons in Lancashire Combination matches, scoring eleven goals from outside-left in his first year with Barrow. He followed that up with fifteen goals, also from outside-left, the next year (1910-11), when, for a short time towards the end of the campaign he was partnered by the old City favourite, “Daisy” Bell, who had moved on from Portsmouth. Last season Ives played in no fewer than 45 matches, and is warm in his praise of Bell’s form in the English Cup-tie against Watford; Bell was his inside partner on ten occasions. For three years past he has been on the ground staff of the Finchley Cricket Club, but likes football better than the summer game. He is very speedy, and with his clever control of the ball is a difficult man to tackle. He has made a speciality of cutting in from the wing to try a shot at goal, and altogether is one of the most promising of the City’s new men”.
Although he had a good goalscoring record for the Grecians with 8 goals in 29 appearances, he was on the move again after just 12 months and signed for Queens Park Rangers for a fee of £300, and he spent two seasons at Loftus Road before the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football. After the War he joined Second Division club Clapton Orient in the summer of 1919 and made his Football League debut at Huddersfield Town that August. He played 16 matches through to November, scoring 4 goals including a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over South Shields at the end of September, but having lost his place played just once more in the spring before joining Southern League club Ton Pentre in the summer of 1920. He finally returned to Tottenham Hotspur in December 1921 but again didn’t get in their first eleven as they finished runners up in the League Championship before his retirement.