7 October, London – OJO backs campaign to reinstate Arsenal mascot amid fears other mascots may be next
This week, hard-up local soccer club Arsenal has made the painful decision to lay off its mascot of 27 years, sparking outrage from millions of distraught supporters, and Piers Morgan.
Created in 1993 by an 11 year old fan (whose wedding the mascot later attended), Gunnersaurus Rex has been a towering figure on the pitch, scoring goals at both ends and outlasting the likes of Arsène Wenger and David Dein.
To be fair to Arsenal, the club will make an estimated pre-tax loss of £83 million this year, so you can see how cutting the part-time mascot wage bill will help…
A strongly worded statement from the Chairman of the OJO Board
“At PlayOJO, we know a thing or two about fairness, and we know a raw deal when we see one.
The treatment of Gunnersaurus is nothing short of a national disgrace. This is a club whose owner is worth a reported $10 billion, that pays £45m for new signing Thomas Partey and shells out £350,000 for their star player to warm the bench.
This is no way to treat the man inside the costume, lifelong Arsenal fan Jerry Quy, who has brought smiles to the faces of millions of fans over the years, recorded personal messages to young fans and kept supporters’ spirits up during lockdown.
Who’s next? Gully The Seagull? Billy The Badger? Filbert Fox? Claret The Parrot? Will it be Wolfie or Wendy Wolf that gets the axe?”
We stand with Gunnersaurus and mascots everywhere
The club has said this move is only temporary, paving the way for the kind of zero hours contract we’d expect Monty The Magpie to be on.
There has been no word from the Football Mascots Union. No message of solidarity from Rocky The Mountain Lion or Bernie the St. Bernard, mascots at other Stan Kroenke-owned clubs.
Mesut Özil has offered to pay Gunnersaurus’ wages, using the mascot’s plight to have a dig at his employers. But with the club unlikely to take him up on his cheeky offer, it’s left once again to the British public’s sense of fairness, love of petitions and crowdfunding – and OJO – to step in and right this wrong.
We simply cannot stand idly by as sweaty men in animal costumes are consigned to the scrap books of football history by billionaires in their ivory boardrooms.
It’s not all bad news though. Gunnersaurus is now a free agent and there are rumours he has been spotted at the Bernabéu, where he can see out his days with many other dinosaurs.