A fund-raising page has been set up for long-serving Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus after it was reported he had been released by the club.
With Arsenal supporters eager to see new arrivals at the Emirates Stadium on transfer deadline day, a shock departure appears to have stolen the headlines.
The Athletic reported Gunnersaurus, the club's mascot for the last 27 years, has been let go, with his role no longer deemed necessary due to fans still not being able to attend matches.
As a result, a GoFundMe page for Jerry Quy, who has played the much-loved dinosaur mascot since 1993, three years before Arsene Wenger’s arrival at the club, has been set up by George Allen.
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.
"Played by lifelong fan Jerry Quy, it would be a terrible shame to lose him. The mascot league is the only one we’ve consistently been on top off, let’s keep our all time top scorer on top.
"Let’s keep him going for another 65,000,000 years and save him from twerking on OnlyFans for a living. Lets raise some money to keep Gunnersaurus going. Please give generously!"
The report of Gunnersaurus’ departure drew widespread condemnation on social media, with Arsenal fan and TV presenter Piers Morgan saying on Twitter: "WHAT? This had better not be true. Is it @Arsenal ??!".
He added: "You’re going nowhere @Gunnersaurus. I refuse to let @Arsenal sack you. Come on @m8arteta @Aubameyang7 – this is not what our club is about."
Gary Lineker tweeted: "Shouldn’t be necessary, but it might be a good move and an act of kindness for the @Arsenal players and manager to club together and sort out this absurdity."
During a 12-year spell with the Gunners, Paul Merson won two league titles with the club and expressed his disappointment at the news.
He told Sky Sports: "All them kids, the junior Gunners, he is part of it now and there will be 30 and 40-year-old people who have grown up with that dinosaur. It is disappointing and I think it is poor by Arsenal, I really do.
"Honestly I think it is poor, it is terrible by Arsenal. I remember him when I was there and my kids were junior Gunners and they used to get the stuff off him. It is not classy."
Back in August, Arsenal announced they were to make 55 redundancies due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the club’s finances.
A severe drop in broadcast revenue was pointed to as the main reason and with games still behind closed doors, Gunnersaurus has had no supporters to engage with at Emirates Stadium.
The PA news agency has contacted Arsenal for comment.