Horst Heldt was sacked as manager of Hannover 96 in April 2021.A low blow indeed, but Heldt should have fallen soft after his previous stints as an official at VfB Stuttgart and Schalke 04 and will soon be able to find a lucrative position again. When Horst Heldt was still an active player, he scored the penalty for Eintracht Frankfurt in the last minute of the last matchday of the 1999/2000 season, which meant SSV Ulm's relegation from the Bundesliga. Unlike Heldt, SSV have not made it back to the top since. So what can Ulm football fans still dream of?
Sporting challenges and financial limitationsTherecent history of SSV Ulm is well known in the region. The many challenges and difficulties in financing the running of the game, including three insolvencies, ensured that the club's sporting horizon has ended for many years in the Regionalliga, and there mostly in mid-table.
In all this time, the wishes of the fans have also become more modest. To play in the top flight and maybe even consider promotion to the third division, and maybe take part in the DFB Cup, that would be something. If you want to see the Bundesliga, you'll just have to go to Augsburg. But is that really all there is to the future of this tradition-rich club? If you take a look at Karlsruhe, Kassel, Saarbrücken, Braunschweig or Mannheim, you can quickly see that Ulm is not the only football location that has disappeared into insignificance and is not coming back. It's hard to fight your way back up from the depths of the league system, and the many fundamental problems in the no-man's land that is the Regionalliga also mean that in many places there is no springboard to at least try.
There are positive examples tooButyou don't always have to look at the negative examples. The other side of the coin is that clubs such as Regensburg, Sandhausen or Paderborn have managed to play a good role in professional football even with a small catchment area and the associated limited economic opportunities. So it's not always about money, as the examples of multi-million investments by foreign businessmen show, which have often not ended well - just ask 1860 Munich. But what these clubs all have is a deep connection with the fans and the region. If a victory is achieved here, then everyone was involved, including the bratwurst seller in the stadium, and if a season goes wrong, then it's not the imminent end of the world, because they gave everything.
This fundamentally amateurish attitude, ignoring goals set far too high and lowering expectations is perhaps the soil in which quiet dreams can ripen. Sure, a little luck is always part of the equation, in games and in commitments, and a little money is needed too. But the things that really count, the togetherness, the togetherness and the dedication to the sport and the region, we have in Ulm and the surrounding area just as much as in other places in football Germany.