By Adrian Kajumba For The Daily Mail and Adam Shergold for MailOnline
15:35 06 Oct 2020, updated 19:34 06 Oct 2020
- Ozil has offered to pay salary of Jerry Quy, who wears the Gunnersaurus outfit
- It came after Arsenal axed the lovable mascot as part of cost-cutting measures
- Quy has worn the green dinosaur outfit at Arsenal games for 27 years
- Celebrities Piers Morgan and Holly Willoughby urged Arsenal to reconsider
- But Ozil, who earns £18m a year, has now offered to save Gunnersaurus
Mesut Ozil handed Arsenal a dilemma by offering to dip into his own pocket to keep the man inside their Gunnersaurus mascot costume in a job while he remains at the club.
Jerry Quy, who filled the role for 27 years alongside a series of other jobs around the club, lost his job as part of Arsenal’s recent Covid-19-related cost-cutting drive.
His position, which he has carried out since Gunnersaurus was introduced in 1993, was deemed no longer essential with games currently being played behind closed doors and no supporters to entertain.
Click here to resize this module
However Quy and Gunnersaurus were both hugely popular around the club and Ozil, whose contract runs out next summer, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
News of his sacking has not gone down well.
Just like the announcement of the 55 redundancies earlier in the summer, which came just before Willian joined on a deal worth up to £220,000-per-week, three-year deal, it has also been ill-timed.
Details of Quy’s exit emerged on transfer deadline day on Monday which ended with Arsenal activating Thomas Partey’s £45m buyout clause and signing the midfielder on a £230,000-per-week four-year deal. Ozil’s offer is intriguing and has put pressure on Arsenal to reinstate Quy.
And while some have also viewed it as a clever PR move the gesture was sincere and an example of a willingness to use his wealth to help those less fortunate that Ozil has displayed previously.
Ozil and his wife Amine Gulse marked their wedding last year by announcing they were going to pay for 1000 children to have life-saving surgery.
After winning the 2014 World Cup with Germany Ozil donated his winnings of around £250,000 to pay for 23 children from host country Brazil to have vital operations.
Ozil is on £350,000-per-week but was among a small group of Arsenal players against taking take pay cuts while he awaited further details of the financial impact of the pandemic on the club, a stance that invited criticism.
He is currently frozen out of manager Mikel Arteta’s plans which has shone added spotlight on his earnings especially compared to his current contribution even if his omission is out of his hands.
Though now he has emerged as a potential saviour of a well-liked figure and character with a gesture which will boost his image among Arsenal supporters and beyond.
It is unclear if Arsenal would take up Ozil’s offer. They insisted Gunnersaurus is due to return when supporters are allowed back in stadiums.
What has yet to be decided is if it will be Quy or someone else inside the dinosaur costume.
Celebrities including Holly Willoughby, Jack Whitehall and Piers Morgan joined the campaign to save Gunnersaurus earlier on Tuesday.
Morgan responded to Ozil’s tweet in humorous fashion, saying: ‘BREAKING: Ozil finally puts a shift in.’
In response, an Arsenal spokesperson insisted: ‘Gunnersaurus is not extinct and will return to action when fans are allowed back at matches.’
Morgan had led the outcry against the decision, calling for Arsenal to reconsider and pleading with boss Mikel Arteta and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to intervene.
And he was joined by This Morning presenter Willoughby and comedian Whitehall in trying to stop the mascot becoming ‘extinct’.
Willoughby wrote on Instagram: ‘ Very very sad to hear the news that @officialgunnersaurus has been released by @arsenal. He was at my son Harry’s 1st birthday and he’s a hero in our house!
‘He’ll never be extinct in our eyes. Bring back Gunnersaurus!’
Whitehall meanwhile added: ‘The streets will never forget,’ with a picture of the mascot while former Arsenal forward Ian Wright said: Terrible news. Love you Jerry.
‘Surely Jerry comes back when the fans come back????,’ Wright added.
Good Morning Britain presenter Morgan also tweeted on Monday, saying ‘You’re going nowhere @Gunnersaurus. I refuse to let @Arsenal sack you. Come on @m8arteta @Aubameyang7 – this is not what our club is about. #savegunnersaurus,’ he tweeted along with a series of angry emojis.
Former Speaker of the House of Commons and fellow Gunners fan John Bercow also got behind the movement, appearing on a Good Morning Britain interview with a poster of the dinosaur mascot in the background.
Sevilla appeared to make a late deadline day swoop for the sacked mascot by tweeting a picture of Gunnersaurus in response to a post asking: ‘Which player would you like your club to sign today?’
After several hours of intense negotiations later and with little time to spare, Sevilla got their dinosaur – returning to Twitter to share a shot of Gunnersaurus dressed in a Sevilla shirt and cap.
But they were not the only foreign club to express their support, with Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon quoting the famous Toy Story line ‘You’ve got a friend in me @Gunnersaurus’, with the picture of their mascot and Gunnersaurus.