It was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club. The Rams, as Derby County are known, were founding members of the Football League when it was launched in 1888, but did not win the League's First Division (then the highest achievement in English football) until the 1971-1972 season. That success was repeated in 1974-1975.
That lack of success in the FA Cup — Derby also regularly lost at the semi-final stage — gave rise to a superstition that the club was subject to a gypsy curse, supposedly because of gypsy anger that the Baseball Ground was built on a gypsy camping ground. Prior to the 1946 final, Derby County players went so far as to ask the gypsies to lift the curse.
Derby County's homeground was the Racecourse Ground from 1884-1895. They then moved to the Baseball Ground and stayed until 1997, when they moved to Pride Park.
Many consider the greatest Rams player to have been Steve Bloomer, one of the most prolific scorers in the history of English football who appeared for Derby either side of the First World War. Other notable players include the FA Cup winning forward line of Peter Doherty, Jackie Stamps and Raich Carter. In the modern era players such as Roy McFarland, Archie Gemmil, Colin Todd, Kevin Hector and Dave Mackay played in the championship winning sides. More recently, England goalkeeper Peter Shilton played for the Rams.
However, there is no question that the outstanding figure to be associated with Derby County is Brian Clough, Derby's manager from 1967 until 1973. After leading Derby to the championship in 1992 (in partnership with assistant manager Peter Taylor) he left under controversial circumstances and after brief tenures at Brighton and Hove Albion F.C and Leeds United F.C Clough joined Nottingham Forest F.C where he went on to win a First Division championship and two European Cups.