The legend of Hennes: The FC Koln Mascot
Fred the red, Gunnersaurus, Hammerhead, Moonchester. What’s common? Why of course, these are some of the most famous mascots in the Premier League!
Mascots have been around for a long time in football. In fact since the time I started watching football as a kid, I have been intrigued by these animals coming to life, smiling brightly for the cameras, not a care in the world.
Allow me a moment to tell you about one of the most ridiculous stories I have ever heard in this regard.
If you ever get a chance to go to Germany, please do take a trip to the small city of Koln. Koln is one of the best places in the world I have got the opportunity to travel to and it is here that I was told the amazing story of FC Koln’s mascot, Hennes, the goat.
Quite unusual to have a goat as a mascot, eh? Wait till you hear the rest of it.
It all started way back, in the 1950’s when FC Koln were celebrating their second anniversary. If you ever end up in Koln, you will realize that the city loves to party and looks for a reason to throw one! In fact every year there is a year long party, commonly knows as the carnival.
At such an event, the Director of the club, to commemorate the two year anniversary of the club, presented a goat as a good look charm. The fans and people of the city immediately took an extraordinary liking to this particular goat and it was decided that the goat would become the mascot for the club.
Hennes Weisweiller, manager of the club liked the goat so much that he adopted the goat and in fact gave it his own first name! This is how Hennes, the goat, mascot of FC Koln was born.
Hennes is pretty much treated like royalty in Koln. Hennes gets his own private chambers in the local zoo, a lady friend and spends most of his days taking part in photoshoots! Hennes has infact also played the part of a murder victim in a local German movie. And of course, Hennes gets his own private handler. To sum it up, Hennes is pretty much like a God in Koln.
In fact whenever the current Hennes passes away, the city and the fans conduct a popular to vote to figure out which goat in Koln should become the next emperor of goats a.k.a Hennes.
In March of 2015, Koln were playing Eintracht when Koln’s Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah, scored in the dying minutes for what would be a first win in seven matches for Koln.
Understandably, Ujah went off on a huge celebration. Ujah ran towards Hennes (who is always at the sidelines) and attempted to dance with him while grabbing his horns. What Ujah may have thought to be a grand celebration and a very important goal, it did not pan out that way.
Fans were astonished at the disrespect that had just been handed out to the Hennes, the king of the city! There was a public outcry. The city of Koln wanted Ujah’s head on a silver platter. This was a grave humiliation to Hennes, who some in Koln consider to be more important that Mrs. Merkel herself!
Ujah perhaps did not understand the backlash he had to face, on the streets and on social media. With this small act, he had managed to get on the bad books of the entire city. Ujah was slowly realizing that, the striker for the local football club may in fact not be the most popular guy in the city.
Sonner enough, Ujah was made to realize by the gaffer that he needed the city behind him when playing a match and there was only one way to make things right. Ujah would have to apologize to Hennes.
And so Ujah did. Anthony Ujah publicly apologized to Hennes VIII (Hennes’ are not born, but picked for the role by popular vote) and admitted that he may have gone a bit over the top with his celebration. A few days later, Ujah posted a picture of himself on Facebook, feeding carrots to Hennes, on Hennes’ birthday.
It is not surprising that Ujah did not last long at the club, leaving for Werder Bremen at the end of the season, while Hennes still enjoys god like status in the city of Koln.
I guess the fans of FC Koln have a simple thought process. Messi maybe be the best player around, but Hennes is in fact the Greatest of All Time.