Holborn, London born goalkeeper Ben Olney played junior football for Fairleys Athletic in 1918 and Aston Park Rangers in 1919, joining Birmingham League club Stourbridge in 1920. From there he joined First Division Derby County as understudy to George Lawrence making his Football League debut immediately before their relegation against Manchester United in May 1921.
He took over the number one spot from Lawrence in January 1922 and once established missed only 3 games in four seasons between 1923 and 1927, a period that included Derby winning promotion back to the top flight as Second Division runners up in 1926. At the time he was described as “of powerful build and long reach. Very nimble despite his proportions, sound in judgement and sure in action”.
But he lost his place in The Rams line up to Harry Wilkes in September 1927 and joined Aston Villa in December 1927 after 240 appearances for Derby, going into the Villa team immediately before the New Year in place of Tommy Jackson. Such was his form that he was taken on England’s 1928 summer tour, winning two caps, making his international debut in a 5-1 victory over France in Paris and then playing in a 3-1 win over Belgium in Antwerp two days later. He also went on the 1929 FA Tour to South Africa.
He had three seasons at Aston Villa making 97 appearances for The Villains, but in 1930 joined non league Bilston United, before returning briefly to League football with Walsall, making 3 appearances in April and May 1932. He then joined Birmingham League Shrewsbury Town in 1932, playing his last game in December 1933 before finishing his career with Moor Green.