Founded in 1921, Alavés first reached La Liga eight years later, a stint which would last three years. After years of seriously facing disappearance, which went well into the 90s, the club finally achieved a Segunda División promotion in 1994–95 after two consecutive years winning Segunda División B – created as the new third level in 1977 – but consistently failing in the promotion playoffs.
Although Alavés were relegated after 2002–03, they regained top flight status two years later. In the 2005–06 season, the club was relegated back to the second division. After two years of battling with relegation to the third level, it eventually befell in 2008–09.
In 2007, Alavés operated a team in the USL First Division in the United States called the California Victory. The team played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, California, and wore the Alavés colors. However, Alavés, under new ownership, pulled its support for the club later that year, after which the Victory folded.