The original Bootle F.C. were formed in 1879 and played their first fixture in 1880 on Hawthorne Road, adjacent to Bootle Cricket Club. The club were Everton F.C.'s main rivals and competed with Everton for the prestigious place in the newly formed Football League. Because only one club per area were permitted to join, Bootle narrowly lost out, despite the fact that in the run up to the decision Everton were 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 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 Trautmann. 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.