Founded in 1921 in Ploiești, Prahova County, as Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română, the club spent the vast majority of its history in the lower leagues. Only after 1990, when taken under the ownership of businessman Ioan Niculae, the club began to achieve success, with a premiere promotion to the top of the Romanian football league system in 1998. In September 2012, the team was moved from Ploiești to Giurgiu. At the end of 2015–16 season, the side led by coach Marius Șumudică won a historical championship title, while ending Steaua București's three-year domination.
Founding, early years and lower divisions (1921–1996)
On 18 September 1921, weekly newspaper Ecoul Sportiv announced the founding of the Clubul Sportiv Astra-Română ("Astra-Romanian Sports Club") by the Astra-Română Society, an oil-company owned by Henri Deterding and based in Prahova, composed of English, American and Dutch officials.
Initially, the club consisted of several football sides based in towns from the entire county. In the summer of 1934, the inaugural edition of the Astra Societies Cup was organised by the rafinery, a trophy open for all the Astra teams. The matches were played in the town of Moreni. At the time, the refinery had only one team, Astra Română Câmpina, that was playing in the district championship. In order to make the cup more attractive, the society created three new football sides for the event: Astra Română Moreni, Astra Română Boldești and Astra Română Unirea Hârsa. After the 1937 edition of the Cup, the society decided to merge all of its Prahova teams and thus created Astra Română Ploiești on 29 May 1937. The team was registered in the district championship. Just a few months after the team's foundation, the society changed its name to Columbia and moved it to a ground located near the society's headquarters, in Câmpina. In May 1945, Astra Română Ploiești was reformed and played its home matches on the old Columbia Stadium, a stadium that still exists today in Ploiești and is used as a training ground by the team.
In the summer of 1992, Astra were promoted for the first time to the Divizia C. The following seasons it finished 6, 12, 3 and 14 in the championship.
Ascent under Ioan Niculae ownership (1996–2013)
In the summer of 1996, the club merged with Danubiana București, it changed its name to Danubiana Ploiești, and played for the first time in the Divizia B. After one season the club changed its name back to Astra. Since that year, Ioan Niculae has become the owner of the team. In 1998, Astra were promoted to the Divizia A for the first time. They played at this level for five consecutive seasons, until 2003, when it merged with Petrolul Ploiești. Two years of pause pass for Astra, until 2005, when Ioan Niculae founded once again the club directly in the Liga II. It was relegated to the Liga III after only one season. In the summer of 2007, under the name of FC Ploiești, the team promoted back to the Liga II. In 2009, after six years, it finally promoted back to Liga I, with promotion achieved at the end of the 2008–09 season. It changed its name back to the traditional Astra Ploiești and the black and white colours were brought back, hence the team's old nickname, "The Black Devils".
Astra Giurgiu played its first European match ever in first qualification round of UEFA Europa League against Domžale, winning 1–0 in the first leg. In the second leg in Bucharest, Astra won 2–0 and qualified. In the second qualification round, Astra draw 1–1 with Omonia in the first leg in Bucharest and beat 2–1 in the second leg in Nicosia to advance. Seeded team after eliminating Omonia, Astra was drawn in third qualification round with Trenčín and qualified after winning 3–1 the first leg in Dubnica nad Váhom and drawing 2–2 in the second leg in Bucharest. In play-off, Astra faced the very first European defeat in a 0–2 against Maccabi Haifa in the first leg in Haifa, thus being eliminated after drawing 1–1 in the second leg in Bucharest.
Astra qualified directly in the third qualifying round after winning the Romanian Cup and met Slovan Liberec, winning both legs 3–0 in Giurgiu and 3–2 in Liberec, this time being the first European match to take place in Giurgiu. In the play-off round, Astra met Olympique Lyonnais, defeating them away in Lyon in a 2–1 win, with Kehinde Fatai and Constantin Budescu scoring the goals of victory. In Giurgiu, Lyon won 1–0 but Astra Giurgiu went on to the group stage phase due to the away goals rule. They were subsequently drawn in Group D alongside Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic and Dinamo Zagreb. Astra began their group stage adventure with a harmful 1–5 defeat at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb against Croatian champions Dinamo, ending with Aurelian Chițu scoring their first goal in the group stages of a European cup. On 2 October 2014, Astra played Red Bull Salzburg one of the most important matches held on Marin Anastasovici Stadium in Giurgiu. Astra took the 1–0 lead with Takayuki Seto's goal, but were stunned by Jonatan Soriano's winner, losing 1–2. On matchday 3, Astra faced Celtic at Glasgow in a match which ended 1–2. On matchday 4, Astra hold Celtic in a 1–1 draw at Giurgiu, with William Amorim scoring the equaliser that brought their first group stage point. On matchday 5, Astra won 1–0 against Dinamo Zagreb with Sadat Bukari's winner, and secured its first ever victory in the Europa League group stages. Astra's Europa League campaign concluded at Red Bull Arena in Salzburg with another heavy 1–5 defeat to Red Bull. Astra ended in fourth place with four points, behind Salzburg (16 points), Celtic (8) and Dinamo (6).
On 28 April 2015, Marius Sumudica was appointed the new manager, having replaced Dorinel Munteanu. His first game in charge was a 2–1 away victory against rivals Petrolul Ploiești. He eventually led the team to a fourth-place finish, assuring qualification for the 2015–16 second round of the UEFA Europa League.
In the second round of the Europa League, Astra were paired with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, which resulted in a 1–0 Astra win on aggregate after a goal from Constantin Budescu. The third round proved to be extremely difficult, however, as Astra was drawn with English club West Ham United. A surprising 2–2 draw at London, followed by a 2–1 victory in Giurgiu, qualified Astra for the play-off round, where they faced Dutch club AZ. A 3–2 home victory for Giurgiu was not enough to see Astra qualified to the group stage as AZ won the reverse match in Alkmaar 2–0, thus ending the club's European campaign.
In the domestic league, Astra managed to impress. Despite having a poor start which included a severe 1–5 defeat from vice-champions ASA Targu Mures, the Astralii managed to finish the regular seasons champions. During this time, however, manager Marius Șumudică was convicted of betting on domestic matches, prompting his suspension by Romanian FA for the remainder of the season. On appeal, Șumudică managed to reduce his suspension to two months, and also begin to apply at the start of the 2016–17 Liga I. On 1 May 2016, after a draw between FC Steaua and Pandurii Tg. Jiu, Astra Giurgiu won the 2015–16 Liga I. This was Șumudică's first domestic title, and also made Giurgiu the 13th Romanian city to have won a national title, after Bucharest, Timișoara, Ploiești, Arad, Craiova, Cluj-Napoca, Pitești, Oradea, Brașov, Reșița, Urziceni and Galați. Astra also later won the 2016 Supercup against CFR Cluj.
Astra qualified for the UEFA Champions League, but were quickly eliminated by Danish side Copenhagen. Astra reached the play-off round of the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League and faced West Ham, which they also met – and defeated – one year prior. The club defeated West Ham 0–1 in London and reached the group stage of the Europa League, where they were drawn in Group E alongside Roma, Viktoria Plzeň and Austria Wien. Despite having zero points after two rounds, Astra Giurgiu managed to defeat Viktoria Plzeň and Austria Wien in away matches; this, in addition to a 0–0 draw with Roma and Austria Wien's failure against Plzeň secured Astra's place in the tournament's round of 32, where they faced Genk.
The present crest was adopted in July 2009, following the team's promotion from Liga II. The design is based on a classical template, and is characterized by the same black and white stripes which could be found on the team's shirts. The numerous stars which adorn the crest have their origin in the club's name, with Astra (like Steaua) being a Romanian word which translates as "The Star".
Astra plays its home matches in Giurgiu at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium, which has a current capacity of approximately 8,500 spectators. With the club having moved here since September 2012, the former Astra Stadium based in Ploiești now acts as a training ground.
After Astra's premiere promotion to the Divizia A in the summer of 1998, its few fans engaged in a grudge with their cross-town rivals Petrolul Ploiești. Often, the matches between Astra and Petrolul ended with clashes between the supporters. Most Astra fans consider Petrolul as their main rivals, however Lupii galbeni regard Rapid București as their principal arch-enemies. The conflict was kept despite Astra's move to Giurgiu, whilst the match has sometimes been referred to as Fostul derbi al Ploieștiului (English: Former Ploiești derby).
A mild rivalry also exists with Steaua București. In early 2016, at the time when the two clubs fought for the championship title, the non-playing staff of both sides often engaged in disputes via press statements. The rivalry between the two clubs ignited even further when a number of key Astra players chose to transfer to the capital-based team.