The first club in the city was founded in 1903 as Kassai AC; Slovak: Košický Atletický Klub; Hungarian: Kassai Atlétikai Club. The club's colours were blue and yellow. In 10's years past century the club competed in Championship of Hungarian country. In 1909 Kassai AC won this Championship. Later they played in eastern group in Slovak-Subcarpathian division during four years 1935–38. In 1939–40 the club played Hungarian League I. Most successful Kassai AC players were Szaniszló, Šiňovský, Drotár brothers, Klein, Lebenský, Dráb, Pásztor and others. Many years the club was settled at stadium on Sokoljevova Street with capacity 16,000 spectators. The stadium was often full. After ended World War II three city's clubs Kassai AC, Kassai Törekvés and ČsŠK were fused to one club named Jednota Košice. Jednota began played Czechoslovak League since 1945. In first season they ended league as fourth in Group B. It was nice success at the time.
The twice Slovak football champions (1997, 1998) were relegated from the premier division in 2003 after the proposed sale of the club to Italian owners in 2001 by the former owner and late VSŽ steelmaking tycoon Alexander Rezeš fell through. Although Rezeš's dream to turn 1. FC Košice into a top European club never came true, he managed to lift an average second division team to the first group stage of the UEFA Champions' League in 1997–98. However, the next year's failure to make the same stage of the major European competition, and failure to defend the league title, combined with the change of government which undermined the position of the Rezeš clan (Alexander Rezeš was economy minister of Vladimír Mečiar's government in 1994–97) represented the beginning of the end of the "millionaires". Their home stadium was the Všešportový areál.
1. FC famously became the first Slovak club to reach the lucrative UEFA Champions League Group Stages when they did so in the 1997–98 season. Also during this Champions League campaign, 1. FC Košice became the first club in the Champions League history to record no points at all in the group stage, losing all their six games.
1. FC Košice are best known outside their homeland for their two clashes with Manchester United in the 1997–98 European Champions League group stages. Manchester United won both legs with the same score, 3–0. During this brief campaign in Europe's most prestigious club competition, Kosice suffered a tragedy when midfielder Milan Čvirik was killed in a car crash at the age of 21.
1. FC Košice kit. Orange and black symbolized of former sponsor VSŽ.
2003–04 season, on the brink of financial collapse and relegation from the second division, the owners of 1. FC, were offered help by the president of Steel Trans Ličartovce Blažej Podolák, one of the favourites to advance to the premier league that season. Steel Trans also paid for the Čermeľ stadium in Košice, where all former 1. FC teams – now under the protective wings of Ličartovce played their matches. In 2004–05 season 1.FC Košice in effect became reserve team of Steel Trans Ličartovce, playing in the third division, group East. Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia, now had no club in the top two divisions (although many can remember two in the Czechoslovak federal league). Another great team from the past, FC Lokomotíva Košice, is in the third division. It was quite difficult to predict the future of football in the city, whose major stadium is in a catastrophic condition and whose football officials turn a deaf ear to cries for help.
Reformed on 17 June 2005, FC Steel Trans Ličartovce was renamed MFK Košice. They ended the season gaining promotion back to the premier league.
Stadium in city district Čermeľ is a multi-use stadium in Košice, Slovakia. It is currently used mostly for football matches as the home ground of MFK Košice since 1997. The stadium holds 10,787 (8,787 seated) spectators and was built in 1970. Initially was the stadium used by Lokomotíva Košice and 1.FC Košice (now MFK) there are playing since 1997. The Slovakia national football team there played a few matches, but the stadium does not meet UEFA criteria for international events today. The club planned construction of the new stadium for 20,000 spectators in neighbourhood of the old not used Všešportový areál stadium. The estimated cost of the stadium is €28 million. However, the construction was not launched and it is not clear when it starts.
MFK Košice's most important rivalry is with FC Lokomotíva Košice. The match between them is called, Košické Derby (Košice Derby). MFK Košice and Lokomotíva Košice include among historically the most successful football teams in the country. The next biggest rivalry is with 1. FC Tatran Prešov. Matches between these two clubs are referred to as the Východniarske derby (Eastern Slovak derby). They also have rivalries with ŠK Slovan Bratislava, FC Spartak Trnava and MŠK Žilina. MFK Košice supporters are called Viva Košice. MFK Košice supporters maintain friendly relations with fans of MFK Zemplín Michalovce and Czech Sparta Prague.