The north London club made the unpopular decision to axe their giant green dinosaur mascot due to the continued absence of fans from games, though they insist his ‘extinction’ is only temporary and he will return at a later date.
At the same time Gunnersaurus was let go – which came just a few months after the club made 55 redundancies – Arsenal spent £45million to sign Partey from Atletico Madrid on deadline day.
While former Gunners midfielder Merson was delighted to see the Ghanaian join, he feels his old club have made a major misstep by axing Gunnersaurus at the same time.
Writing for the Daily Star, Merson said: ‘They’ve just signed Thomas Partey for £45m. If he’s on £150,000-a-week, are you telling me they couldn’t have offered £149,000 and given the rest to the dinosaur?
‘The club are putting money above the fans, above the things that are important. I can’t catch my breath if I’m being honest. I don’t think the people who run the club understand the club really.’
He continued: ‘Mesut Ozil has made Arsenal look absolutely stupid by offering to pay for Gunnersaurus to keep his job.
‘Arsenal used to ooze class. I don’t think the owners even know what that word means any more. Whoever made the decision to get rid of the mascot needs to take a long hard look at themselves.
‘The guy in the suit, Jerry Quy. This bloke loves doing that. He was there when I played for Arsenal. He’s an institution. My kids grew up with him. They would be as interested in the dinosaur as they were in the players. Their faces would light up.
‘It absolutely does my head in that they’ve got rid of him just to save money. How many other clubs, ones in the lower leagues who are really struggling, have done that?
‘Even if they bring him back when fans are allowed back in the stadium, it’s a disgrace. It’s not just about what he does on a matchday. Think about how much it keeps kids who can’t go happy when they get something in the post from the mascot.
‘If you’re making kids happy it doesn’t matter how much you’re on a week. And let’s be honest there are plenty of higher earners at Arsenal. The people in charge don’t care about the fans. If they did, the first thing they would have said is: “We keep Jerry Quy.”’