Mascots are as much a part of football as the players themselves
Mascots are as much a part of football as the players themselves

Presenting Hennes the mascot

Munich - A football club would not be the same without a mascot, yet there is one particular mascot who is more than just a fluffy part of the family.

King billy goat

That mascot is Hennes, a living billy goat, the symbol of Bundesliga 2 club
1. FC Köln and a superstar in his own right in the North-Rhein Westphalian city

The only thing fluffy about Hennes is his coat which keeps him warm through the seasons, because this is one superstar who is not going anywhere. Hennes, embodying the identity of the club, has a job for life at the Rhein-Energie Stadion, taking to the field first, and checking the depth (and, admittedly, the lushness) of the grass in his own inimitable way.

Only once Hennes has done his job, can football be played in Cologne. He is the most famous billy goat in the west, and one who lives like a king on the former patch of Prince Podolski. Hennes VIII, as he is officially known, has a regal stable to himself in Cologne's Widdersdorf district. Well, it's not totally his own as he shares his hay and straw with Willi, his stable mate. Willi does leave Hennes a big enough portion of forage, though, He is only a rabbit, after all.

In the public eye

It's a good life for Hennes, but then anything less would not do justice to one of the club's biggest attractions, the living mascot of one of Germany's clubs with the greatest traditions. Film crews from around the world have paid him a visit with requests for interviews flooding in all the time. Finding time to fit in the likes of the BBC and TV stations from Brazil and Japan is not easy as Hennes likes routine in his picturebook home.

When the time comes for Hennes to face the public, he dons his red rug, combs his curly coat and poses for the camera as if it were second nature. Hildegard Schäfer and Ingo Reipka, Hennes' loyal carers for over a decade, are there to ensure he looks the part. Reipka used to be the billy goat's chauffeur.

Stable, stage or stadium

He still needs his own driver now, and Reipka still takes care of that. He and the widow of farmer Wilhelm Schäfer, who looked after Hennes since 1970 before passing away in 2006. Hennes' carriage is, understandably, fit for a king. Given the amount of travelling he does, he requires home comforts and a freshly-laid lawn to graze on, even when travelling to one of his many public appearances.

Indeed, Hennes VIII has hundreds of appointments filling his agenda. And that's in addition to his fortnightly visit to the stadium, where he takes his regular pew in a paddock close to the home team's bench. Hennes is on the local A-list. Rarely does an important birthday party or wedding take place without his presence, and he is a keen supporter of local youth football.


Hennes VIII is also a regular on the silver screen, appearing on numerous television programmes in various roles. Quite frankly, he is more than just the living symbol of 1. FC Köln. His image is not only caught on the club's emblem and merchandise, but also in books and the official matchday magazine. He makes his voice known during matches too, informing the fans of the results at other games.

He has been a fixture in Cologne since 1950, two years after the club was founded. They were coached by Hennes Weisweiler, and local circus director Carola Williams gifted the club a young billy goat to bring them luck during Carnival time. He took the name of the club's coach. Hennes I was taken under the wing of club member Wilhelm Stiepen and then farmer Peter Filz. He did his role as a lucky charm justice, with 1. FC Köln winning two German titles.

His successors have followed on Hennes' tradition and there will always be a billy goat present when Köln are in action. He is more than just a mascot, after all. He is a living legend.