Mesut Özil has offered to pay the full salary of Jerry Quy, the man inside Arsenal’s famous Gunnersaurus mascot costume, for as long as he remains a player at the club.
Quy has occupied the role for 27 years alongside a succession of other jobs at Arsenal, playing an integral part as Gunnersaurus became a fixture at Highbury and the Emirates Stadium, as well as an instantly recognisable figure far beyond. With no matches for the mascot to attend until supporters return to Premier League games, he was recently made redundant as part of a series of controversial cost-cutting measures attributed to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move sparked an outcry, particularly as it came to light on the day Arsenal paid Atlético Madrid £45m for Thomas Partey, who will earn £230,000 a week and receive a signing-on fee of more than £2m. The £350,000 weekly wage paid to Özil, who is frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s team, was also held up against the money apparently saved by parting company with Quy but the midfielder has moved to reclaim that narrative and ensure a hugely respected member of staff is kept on.
“I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous and loyal mascot … and integral part of our club was made redundant after 27 years,” he wrote on social media. “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.”
Arsenal, who announced 55 redundancies across their full-time staff in August, are yet to confirm whether Özil’s offer will be taken up. Although there are no doubts about his sincerity he has been at odds with his employer on several issues in recent months, particularly in opting against taking a pay cut in April owing to doubts about the effects his actions would have. This appears to be another such situation.
Arsenal have emphasised that Gunnersaurus has not been stood down permanently and have not ruled out Quy occupying the role again.