This curious story began with an ordinary joke. On February 13, 1950, the footballers of the German club "Cologne" celebrated the second anniversary of the founding of their team. Among the guests was the owner of the local circus Carola Williams, who presented the athletes with an original gift - a little goat. The coach of "Cologne" Hennes Weisweiler took him in his arms, the animal got scared and soaked his festive costume. Someone jokingly suggested calling the goat Hennes.
Perhaps Hennes would have stayed in the team for a short time, but in the coming matches, “Cologne” played so well that the goat began to be considered a talisman that brings good luck to the players. He was settled in the barn of one of the fans, who regularly brought Hennes to the games of "Cologne". Soon Hennes began to travel to matches in other cities, and after one curiosity it became mandatory.
"Cologne" had a match with a hopeless outsider. The footballers somehow did not remember their talisman, confidently believing that they could do without it. Almost incredible happened - "Cologne" lost. Even the skeptics started to think about it. Hennes regularly "worked" as a mascot until 1966 and died of old age. By the way, a stuffed animal made from Hennes' head is still in the club museum.
The club did not dare to remain without a mascot, therefore, Hennes II took over the post. He died four years later. The police claimed that a shepherd dog burst into the open-air cage and bit the goat, but the football players and fans of Cologne stubbornly refused to believe this, claiming that the animal was poisoned by rival malefactors from Borussia Mönchengladbach.
But, every goat that died or died of natural death in "Cologne" is replaced by a new talisman. Now such is already Hennes VIII, who was elected in 2008 using an online vote of the club's fans.
He has his own driver who brings Hennes VIII to the team's matches, as well as a personal bodyguard, as there have been attempts to assassinate the Cologne symbol. Cameras are installed in the aviary, with the help of which fans can watch their pet on the club's website.
By the way, goat mascots have not been taken to away matches for a long time. The fact is that animal advocates protested, assuring that long and frequent travels traumatize Hennes' psyche. Therefore, you have to be content with only home games.
In the seventies, "Cologne" was on the rise, became the champion of the country, won the German Cup. Which was not surprising - the team featured such world football stars as Harald Schumacher and Pierre Littbarski. But they were not mentioned in the first lines of the club song, which began with the words "Our goat is a champion, he beat everyone."
The football players and fans of "Cologne" do not admit a familiar attitude to the mascot. In 2015, an incident occurred - the Nigerian Anthony Uja, who was then playing for Cologne, scored the ball and, in a fit of joy, ran up to Hennes, pulling him hard by the horns. The attitude towards the footballer changed dramatically, despite the fact that he was one of the club's top scorers. Uja soon left the team.