Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus has returned to Emirates Stadium for the first time since being sacked last month.
Mesut Ozil stepped in and offered to pay the wages of Jerry Quy following the club’s announcement on 5 October. Quy had performed the role for 27 years before the club initiated the sudden separation.
A statement from the club read: “As we’ve always said Gunnersaurus is an important part of Arsenal and a popular figure for our fans around the world.
“Gunner never went away but due to the virus restrictions there have been limited opportunities for him to appear in public.”
Without fans at stadiums during the pandemic, the Gunners deemed the mascot role to be temporarily redundant, though they appeared to misinterpret the affection felt among the fanbase for Gunnersaurus, which led to uproar on social media.
Despite Ozil’s offer to pay the wages of Quy while he is still at the club, with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, it is unclear if the latest picture posted from the official Gunnersaurus account is Quy or another person.
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 5 August.
Games have been played behind closed doors since Project Restart in mid-June, with the current lockdown making any return in the near future unlikely.
Arsenal had initially planned to welcome a select number of fans back against Sheffield United at the start of October, but a change in government guidelines shelved those plans.
Gunnersaurus has therefore not been required at Arsenal home games, with Quy's former role on away trips also currently not needed.
A GoFundMe page for was set up by George Allen and raised almost £12,000.
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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