The news that a 27-year-old green dinosaur in a Gunners shirt had been made redundant at Emirates Stadium made unexpected headlines on deadline day
Arsenal’s decision to make beloved mascot Gunnersaurus redundant after 27 years of service was one of the most unexpected stories of transfer deadline day.
While the Gunners were pushing through a £45 million (€50m/$58m) move for long-term transfer target Thomas Partey, Jerry Quy, who has donned the famous dinosaur suit since 1993, was told his services were no longer needed.
Arsenal made Gunnersaurus redundant as part of cost-cutting measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The club’s board had already faced criticism earlier in the summer after proposing 55 staff redundancies as a result of the ‘significant and long-lasting’ financial implications of the pandemic.
The Gunners had a net spend of around £60 million ($78m) in this summer’s transfer window. Gabriel Magalhaes was also signed and Pablo Mari’s loan move made permanent, with Emiliano Martinez the only significant outgoing transfer.
However, with fans not allowed to attend matches due to Covid-19 restrictions, the popular Quy was told he didn’t have a role at the club.
— Gunnersaurus (@Gunnersaurus) September 28, 2020
That prompted an angry response from sections of Arsenal’s fanbase and a global outpouring of support with the hashtag #JusticeForGunnersaurus. On Tuesday, Mesut Ozil stepped in, offering to pay Quy’s wages.
He wrote on social media: “I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @Gunnersaurus and integral part of our club was being made redundant after 27 years. As such, I’m offering to reimburse @Arsenal with the full salary of our big green guy as long as I will be an Arsenal player…so Jerry can continue his job that he loves so much. #JusticeForGunnersaurus”
I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @Gunnersaurus and integral part of our club was being made redundant after 27 years. As such, I’m offering to reimburse @Arsenal with the full salary of our big green guy as long as I will be an Arsenal player… pic.twitter.com/IfWN38x62z
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 6, 2020
Ozil’s offer takes on an interesting dimension given the current state of Arsenal’s squad.
Having failed to find moves away for the likes of Sead Kolasinac, William Saliba, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi, Mikel Arteta will need to leave two players out of his 25-man Premier League squad.
Ozil, who is Arsenal’s highest-earning player but who has not featured since football returned from lockdown, could find his place in the squad in doubt. If he was left out, talk of a move elsewhere will no doubt increase.
Nice gesture from Mesut, but you just know how that is going to go down at the club………
That is one broken relationship.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) October 6, 2020
Arsenal have not yet publicly responded to Ozil’s offer, so Gunnersaurus’ future is still unclear. However, ESPN reports a club spokesman has said: “Gunnersaurus is not extinct and will return to action when fans are allowed back at matches.”
If the mascot is to resume his work when fans return to stadiums, it isn’t clear when that will be as plans to reintroduce spectators have been delayed indefinitely.
Gunnersaurus first donned the Arsenal shirt in August 1993, in a match against Manchester City at Highbury. He emerged after a competition for the club’s younger fans to design a new club mascot, with ‘Gunnersaurus Rex’ submitted by 11-year-old Peter Lovell.