FC Istres was founded in 1920 by Édouard Guizonnier as SS Istréenne. In 1969, SS Istréenne was merged into the more general sports club Istres Sports, who chose to keep Istréenne's distinctive purple and black colors. In 1977 the club made young entrepreneur Michel Aviet the club's president and ex-Yugoslav goalkeeper Georges Korac the club's manager. During the Aviet-Korac years, the club advanced from France's lower regional divisions all the way up to Ligue 2. In 2004, the club reached Ligue 1 but finished last and was relegated to Ligue 2 the following year. The club returned to Ligue 2 for the 2009–10 season after winning the Championnat National 2008–09.