Bundesliga's FC Koln are of one the few clubs in the world to have a living mascot. The 71-year-old club has a billy goat named Hennes as their mascot and he made his league debut against Borussia Dortmund on Friday in front of 50000 supporters at the RheinEnergieStadion.
The blessings from the billy goat helped Cologne start the game on the front foot in their first home game of the season. The early pressure paid dividends as Dominick Drexler scored the opening goal for the hosts. But Dortmund came back from behind to win the game 3-1, with Jadon Sancho grabbing a goal and an assist in the second half.
While the result wasn't in favour of Hennes' club, the new goat surely had a wonderful start to his journey and will definitely be loved by the Cologne faithful, just like his predecessors.
The mascot is named after former club coach Hennes Weisweiller whose team was gifted a goat by the director of a local circus as a lucky charm. This happened during the club's second anniversary, 1950, and since then, the goat has been part of the club's history and is now on the logos and player kits as well.
The previous goat, Hennest VIII, enjoyed a wonderful 11-year spell as the mascot and retired earlier this month due to health reasons. 'We do not want our club mascot ever having to stand in pain in the stadium,'' Cologne managing director Alexander Wehrle told the club website. ''After promotion and the upcoming new season, it is now the perfect conclusion and time for Hennes VIII to enjoy his retirement.''
The new guy is in his teens but stood solid on his debut inside a packed stadium and in front of a vociferous crowd. Here's to long life and health, with the hope that fame doesn't get to his head. He will surely notice an increase in fan-following - after all, he is a goat.