Mesut Ozil has offered to pay the full wages of the man inside Arsenal’s Gunnersaurus mascot costume to save his job.
Jerry Quy has portrayed Gunnersaurus for the past 27 years, but was made redundant as part of the job-cutting scheme implemented by Arsenal in the summer.
Contrary to a number of reports, the PA news agency understands the dinosaur mascot will still entertain fans once the coronavirus pandemic allows supporters back inside the Emirates Stadium – although it is currently unclear who will be under the costume.
Midfielder Ozil reportedly earns some £350,000-a-week as Arsenal’s top-paid player, but is currently not in the first-team picture under Mikel Arteta.
The German World Cup winner took to social media on Tuesday to post his offer of support for Quy, who lost his job as a supporter liaison for away matches.
Ozil said in an Instagram post: “I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @officialgunnersaurus 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.”
The club announced in August that they planned to make 55 roles redundant due to the financial ramifications of the Covid-19 outbreak, with Quy losing his job as a supporter liaison for away matches.
“Our aim has been to protect the jobs and base salaries of our people for as long as we possibly can. Unfortunately, we have now come to the point where we are proposing 55 redundancies,” the club said in a statement released on August 5.
With games being played behind closed doors since Project Restart in mid-June, a small number of supporters were supposed to have been returning to Premier League games last weekend.
Arsenal had been planning to welcome a select number back for Sunday’s 2-1 win over Sheffield United – but a change in Government guidelines means the return of supporters has been delayed indefinitely.
Gunnersaurus has therefore not been required at Arsenal home games, with Quy’s former role on away trips also currently not needed.
Discussions on whether he continues to don the Gunnersaurus costume moving forward have not yet concluded.
But the Gunnersaurus gimmick will live on, even if a new employee takes on the role from Quy.
On Monday a GoFundMe page for was set up by Arsenal fan George Allen and has already raised more than £10,000 – a statement on the page read: “Gunnersaurus has been the Arsenal club mascot for 27 years. He’s a club icon and we cannot let him become extinct.”
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