Since 1935 the former rural village of Corby in Northamptonshire had been represented in the United Counties League by steelworks side Stewarts & Lloyds - hence the club's nickname of the Steelmen. But by the end of the 1947/1948 season it was decided that the new town of Corby had grown sufficiently enough to support an independent football club and Corby Town was born.
Local MP William Mongomery was elected chairman - a position he had previously held with S&L - and former Millwall, Dundee and England player Reg Smith was appointed player/manager.
Corby Town Football Club played its first game against Wellingborough Town at Occupation Road - home until 1985 - on Saturday, August 21, 1948 and began with an impressive 5-1 victory in front of a crowd of 2,300. Reg Smith departed just a month into that first season for family reasons, however and results were generally disappointing until senior player Wally Akers was given the manager's job in the summer of 1950.
The United Counties League championship was then won in style in both 1950/1951 and 1951/1952 by a side skippered from centre half by the imposing Scot Jimmy Strathie and with ace goalscorer Ernie Middlemiss setting a club goalscoring record of 135 in 136 games which was to last for more than forty years until being broken by David Hofbauer.
Those successes prompted a step up the Midland League in 1952 and in their first season Corby were pipped to the championship by Nottingham Forest Reserves in a last game decider. The Steelmen spent the next five seasons in the Midland League and although they were never able to match that initial success they did have their moments.
In 1954/1955 they reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time losing 0-2 at home to Watford before a crowd of 6,763. The following season two products of the club's youth system - Andy McCabe and Len Chalmers - were transferred to Chesterfield and Leicester City respectively for fees totalling almost two thousand pounds. And in 1956/1957 Corby won their home league encounter Gainsborough Trinity (who turned up without a recognised goalkeeper) by a club record score of 14-0!
The year of 1958 was a momentous one for the club. In February floodlit football came to Corby when an All Star XI took on the Steelmen in the inaugural game under lights and in March it was announced that the club was leaving the Midland League in favour of the Southern League. In May it was revealed that former Manchester United, Derby County, Leicester City and England inside forward Johnny Morris was taking over as player/manager.
During his three years in charge Morris brought a number of well known ex-league players - including his former Manchester United and England colleague Henry Cockburn - to Occupation Road. But this policy almost bankrupt the club and at the end of 1960/1961 he was informed that he was not having his contract renewed for financial reasons.
Morris was succeeded by ex-Corby player Tommy Hadden and under his clever management and astute chairmanship of Fred Deely things improved both on and off the pitch. Promotion to the Premier Division was narrowly missed in 1963/1964 - when the capture of the Merit Cup as the Southern League's highest scoring team was some consolation - but the following year they did achieve promotion to the top flight. During this period the club made several applications for Football League membership and in 1966 actually picked up one vote!
In 1963/1964 Corby were knocked out ot the FA Cup in the First Round Proper by Bristol City and the following season they were defeated at the same stage by Hartlepool United. In 1965/1966 the Steelmen overcame that hurdle at home to fellow non-leaguers Burton Albion and in the Second Round faced Luton Town at Occupation Road. Hopes of an upset appeared to have been dashed when Luton earned a 2-2 draw with a late disputed penalty but on the most glorious night in a club's history a goal by local boy Maurice Goodall gave Corby victory over the Hatters at Kenilworth Road in the replay. In the Third Round a trip to Plymouth Argyle resulted in a 0-6 thrashing and in general the club's fortunes have been on a downward spiral ever since.
Corby were relegated from the Premier Division in 1968 and remained in various forms of Division One until earning a place in the new-look Premier Division in 1982. The Steelmen were relegated again in 1990 - by which time they had moved to a new home at the multi-purpose Rockingham Triangle sports complex - but bounced back after just one season as Midland Division runners up and Merit Cup winners.
In 1992/1993 under the management of Elwyn Roberts and with an experienced side which included Steve Collins, Gerry McElhinney, Bryn Gunn and skipper Dougie Keast they finished third in the Premier Division but just two seasons later following a cash crisis which had threatened the club's very existence they were relegated and ever since have struggled just to stay in the Southern League.
It appeared that the battle had been lost at the end of 1997/1998 but Corby were handed a late reprieve and switched to the Southern Division for the first time.
The 2000/01 season saw Corby finish in a respectable mid-table position but they struggled in their next season, and only managed to hold onto their Dr Martens league status by the skin of their teeth. Following the departure of Eddie McGoldrick senior player Wayne Spencer took over as manager and on a very dramatic last day of the season, bottom of the table Corby, gained an unexpected home win over Eastbourne Borough to leapfrog Wisbeach Town and condemn the 'Fenmen' to relegation.
After a good start to the 2002/03 season things went downhill and a run of 21 games without a win left the club precariously placed. Following the arrival of former Nottingham Forest player Lee Glover as manager, Corby lost only three of their last fifteen matches, followed by a season of consolidation in 2003/04. Despite Lee Glover joining Grantham Town 'The Steelmen' had an even better season in 2004/05, with new manager Rob Dunion at the helm, just missing out on a play-off place.
Corby did manage promotion under Dunion a year later, despite for the first time in their history playing some of their home games outside the town at the start of the 2005/06 season. Work on their Rockingham Triangle stadium meant that the 'Steelmen' played their opening games at Kettering Town's Rockingham Road ground. The clubs return to the Southern League Premier Division after an 11 year absence was achieved by finishing below Boreham Wood on goal difference at the top of the league.
Following a tough year back in the Premier Division that saw the departure of both Dunion and his successor Dougie Keast, the club was saved from relegation by Farnborough Town's demise from the Nationwide Conference South.
2007/08 looked really positive for The Steelmen, with a new board led by ex-Kettering Town Chairman Peter Mallinger, Mick Leech and former Kettering director Dave Dunham. However the side assembled by Kevin Wilson vastly underachieved and following his sacking by the club and an influx of new players by new manager Graham Drury The Steelmen avoided relegation with just one week of the season remaining.
In his first full season Drury led the club to a magnificent Southern League Premier Division title, following a number of new signings and complete team restructuring. This meant promotion to the Blue Square North League. This was achieved on the 25th April 2009 when Corby beat Banbury United 5-0 at the Rockingham Triangle in front of a strong crowd of 1,990 which is a record to date.
Among the players to have previously appeared for the club are full internationals Reg Smith, Johnny Morris and Henry Cockburn (England), Eric Caldow, Hugh Curran and John Robertson (Scotland), Gerry McElhinney (Northern Ireland) and Dick Whittaker, Mark Lawrenson and Eddie McGoldrick (Republic of Ireland).
Len Chalmers (Leicester), Andy McCabe (Chesterfield), Norman Dean (Southampton), Hugh Curran (Millwall), Peter Kearns (Aldershot), Dixie McNeil, Andy McGowan, Jim McNichol, George Reilly and Roger Russell (all Northampton Town), Paul Bannon (Carlisle United), David Dall (Scunthorpe United), Trevor Morley (Northampton, West Ham and Manchester City) Chris Mackenzie (Hereford and Chester), Matt Murphy (Oxford United and Swansea) and current Bristol Rovers skipper Stuart Campbell are among the players to have played in the Football League after leaving the 'Steelmen'.
David Hofbauer is the club's record goalscorer with 159 goals to his credit during the 1980's - 1990's while Derek Walker's appearance record of 601 games looks set to stand for some time yet.
1948 Stewarts & Lloyds Corbychanged name 1952-53 Joined Midland League Midland League runner-up 1958-59 Joined Southern League North Western zone 1964-65 Promoted to Premier Division 1967-68 Relegated to Division One 1979-80 League re-organised to Southern & Midland Divisions (No Premier) Placed in Midland Division 1982-83 Placed in re-established Premier Division 1989-90 Relegated to Midland Division 1990-91 Southern League Midland Division runner-up Promoted to Premier Division 1994-95 One point deducted Relegated to Midland Division 1998-99 Switched to Southern Division 1999-00 Southern Division renamed Eastern Division Three points deducted 2004-05 Switched to Western Division 2005-06 Switched back to Southern League Eastern Division - Promoted to Premier Division 2007-08 Southern League Premier Champions - Promoted to Blue Square North