The original Bootle F.C. were formed in 1880 and played adjacent to Bootle Cricket Club, on Hawthorne Road. The club were Everton FC’s main rivals and competed with Everton for the prestigious place in the newly formed Football League. Because only one club per area where permitted to join, Bootle narrowly lost out, despite the fact that in the run up to the decision Everton where banned from the both the FA Cup and the Liverpool Senior Cup the previous year.
However Bootle lost out and in 1889–90 Bootle became founder members of the Football Alliance, which became the newly formed Football League second division. That season was the most successful as the club finished league runners-up and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, losing to Blackburn Rovers.
When the Alliance merged with the Football League in 1892, Bootle became founder members of the new Second Division. However, despite finishing in a respectable 8th place, the club dropped out after one season due to ongoing financial problems. Ironically a new local club, Liverpool, took Bootle’s place in the second division.
The possible resurrection of a Bootle team became a distinct probability in August 1947 when local councillors identified the popularity and talent on show in the ‘Bootle JOC’ league and knew the town was big enough to be put back on the football map with its own team again. For years now it had been an exporter of its many players to other clubs, both professional and semi-professional.
The promise of sponsorship money from local businesses brought great optimism and the issue of one shilling shares further boosted club finances. After local residents were assured that the ground at Bootle Stadium (Maguire Avenue) would not be used solely as a football ground, an application to join the Lancashire Combination for the 1948/49 season was made, and accepted. Club colours even posed a problem, red or blue were dismissed for fear of showing favour to either of the ‘big two’ so it was agreed that, as the original Bootle FC wore white shorts, this colour would be adopted.
Players mostly came from the local league and surrounding clubs, however one player that Bootle overlooked was a tall, blonde, ex-prisoner-of-war German, Bert Trautman. Trautman, then living in Huyton, trained with Bootle at the stadium for several weeks but, with the area taking such a heavy pounding during the war, it was decided not to tempt any local bitterness and he was allowed to join St Helens Town and of course moved on to FA Cup and Manchester City folklore.
They kicked off their new campaign in 1948 against Barnoldswick and district. The league was won at the first attempt. However, Bootle struggled in the top-flight and after several tough seasons and also a change in Council priorities they withdrew from the league and folded during the 1953–54 campaign.
In 1953, the current club was formed as Langton with Frank Doran Senior being one of the founding members. The club played in the various local Bootle leagues. After a very successful spell in the Liverpool County Combination – winning the leagues and cups on various occasions the club began discussions to change its name to become the latest incarnation of Bootle FC. This was accepted in 1973 and a year later ‘the Bucks’ joined the Lancashire Combination.
After winning the Combination in both 1976 and 1977, Bootle then joined the Second Division of the Cheshire County League, which was won in the first season, and were promoted to the First Division.
In 1982 the Cheshire County League was one of the leagues that merged to form the North West Counties League, which Bootle duly joined, becoming a member of the First Division (Which is now called the Premier Division). The club spent most of their time in the First Division until 2000 when the club was relegated to the Second Division.
However, despite finishing 6th in 2002, the club dropped into the Liverpool County Combination as Bucks Park on Copy Lane closed its doors for the final time.
In 2006 the club, with a new ground on Vesty Road, Bootle were elected back into Division 2 of the North West Counties League. In 2009 Bootle won promotion to the NWCFL Premier Division and also won the Championship. In 2009/10, the first season back in the NWCFL Premier Division Bootle finished a NWCFL highest placing of 3rd. In 2010/11 finished 6th place. They equalled the 3rd place again in 2012.
Since 1953 Frank Doran Senior has been the mainstay of this era for Bootle FC. Being a player, manager, secretary, grounds man, and now president of the club. And these foundations have been built on with a family and community spirit felt at the club.
With the help of local businesses and the volunteers at the club Bootle has developed into an important community hub where young and old are welcomed and interact. This is highlighted by the use of the ground – whether it is used for the bar, the 3G pitches on offer, the local tournaments and league cup finals that are played here, or the classroom hire. Bootle FC is in the heart of the community and everyone is welcome.