Arsenal have let go of the beloved Gunnersaurus as the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus crisis continues to bite, with the popular mascot a casualty of cost cutting at the Emirates Stadium.
Already feeling the pinch as a result of several years without Champions League revenue, Arsenal were hard hit by the pandemic and in August announced plans to make 55 employees redundant.
That move was later criticised when captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang subsequently signed a new long-term contract with the club.
The same cost cutting measures will now see Gunnersaurus cut loose for the foreseeable future.
The Athletic explains that Gunnersaurus has been portrayed by Jerry Quy ever since the character’s creation in 1993. Quy was only employed part-time and so is not included in the aforementioned 55 redundancies, but his exit after 27 years is part of the overall streamlining process.
With games continuing to take place behind closed doors – it could be March before fresh attempts are made to bring supporters back into stadiums – it has been deemed that there is no need for Gunnersaurus in the current climate and Quy is surplus to requirements.
Arsenal rake in a significant portion of their annual turnover on matchdays and it was recentlyestimated that accounts for 25% of income and could result in £96m of lost revenue should stadiums be forced to stay closed to fans for the whole of 2020/21.
Prior to becoming Gunnersaurus, Quy was already an Arsenal fan and wears the cult costume at most Gunners home games. The big green suit was even stored at his home when the country went into lockdown, which produced a number ‘Gunner at home’ images posted to social media.
It is said that Arsenal, while committed to running the club more financially efficiently, have insisted that Gunnersaurus will return in the future.