Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has hit out at Arsenal for making the man inside the club’s Gunnersaurus mascot costume redundant.
Sir Keir, a keen Arsenal fan, said wealthy clubs need to show solidarity with staff and supporters during the coronavirus crisis.
He also welcomed an offer by Gunners star Mesut Ozil to pay the wages of the man inside the costume.
The Labour leader’s spokesman said: “Keir is a passionate supporter of Arsenal and he was disappointed by the club’s decision.
“Football is our national sport and all football clubs should send messages of solidarity.
“All football clubs, particularly those wealthier clubs, at this difficult time should be showing how they are supporting their staff.
“Football clubs need to demonstrate the values that have come out so strongly during this pandemic, which is compassion, decency and fairness, and we hope all the clubs take this on board.
“Keir believes that people will take a dim view of clubs which are spending millions of pounds on transfers at the same time as making hard-working staff redundant.”
Asked about what the Labour leader thought of Ozil’s offer, the spokesman said: “He does applaud it, that’s the kind of message footballers should be sending.”
Jerry Quy has portrayed Gunnersaurus for the past 27 years, but was made redundant as part of a job-cutting scheme implemented by Arsenal in the summer.
Contrary to a number of reports, the PA news agency understands the dinosaur mascot will still entertain fans once the coronavirus pandemic allows supporters back in the Emirates Stadium – although it is unclear who will be in the costume.
I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @Gunnersaurus and integral part of our club was being 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… pic.twitter.com/IfWN38x62z
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 6, 2020
Midfielder Ozil reportedly earns £350,000 a week as Arsenal’s top-paid player, but is currently not in the first-team picture under Mikel Arteta.
The German World Cup winner took to social media on Tuesday to post his offer of support for Mr Quy, who lost his job as a supporter liaison for away matches.
The club announced in August that they planned to make 55 roles redundant due to the financial ramifications of the Covid-19 outbreak.