The club was formed as Christ Church Football Club in 1874, and adopted its current name in 1877. Founder members of the Football League, Bolton have spent the highest number of seasons of any club in the top flight without winning the title. The closest they have come to the title is third in the First Division on three occasions. As of 2014, the club has spent more seasons in the top division than any other club outside the current Premiership.
Bolton were a successful cup side in the 1920s, winning the FA Cup three times. The club won the cup a fourth time in 1958. A leaner spell followed, reaching a nadir in 1987 when the club spent a season in the Fourth Division. The club regained top-flight status in 1995 after a 15-year absence.
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