Former Cologne mascot Hennes VIII has passed away

By Ciaran VarleyBBC Sport
Cologne mascot, Hennes VIII - a goat.
Hennes VIII has sadly kicked the bucket

German Bundesliga side Cologne have said goodbye to their famous former mascot, Hennes VIII. An actual, real goat.

Real-life billy goat Hennes VIII was a regular at the RheinEnergieStadion from 2008-2019.

In that time, he saw a lot, including two relegations, two promotions and even qualification for European football. At 14, however, his health had begun to deteriorate and the decision had to be made on Wednesday to put him down.

A statement from club vice-president Eckhard Sauren on the Cologne website said: "Hennes VIII was a special goat in many ways. In 2008, he was elected into the position through an online vote and experienced a lot of highs and lows in his 11 years."

The highlight from that time has to be qualification for the Europa League in 2017, when the club hosted Arsenal, among others.

"The qualification for Europe meant there was finally a goat who was able to welcome our international guests," said Sauren.

A more controversial moment was when forward Anthony Ujah celebrated scoring a winner against Eintracht Frankfurt in March 2015 by pulling on Hennes VIII's horns - something for which the player apologised afterwards.

"He managed to take on Anthony Ujah's goal celebration with his usual robustness," Sauren reflected.

Hennes VIII was part of a long tradition at Cologne, dating back to 1950 when a local circus director gifted a billy goat to the team for good luck.

The latest in the line, Hennes IX, took over in 2019. However, during the pandemic, he hasn't been able to perform his pre-match duties and it's obviously had an impact on the team's form - currently they sit in the relegation zone with just four games left.

The king is dead. Long live the king.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC