In recent times there has been much speculation over the future of Gunnersaurus as the club’s mascot, following the decision to lay off the man in the suit towards the end of last season.
Seasoned mascot watchers felt Arsenal’s insistence that the character would remain, even if the long-time costume-wearer was to be made redundant, just didn’t add up.
Now, OhMyArsenal.com can exclusively reveal that the cataclysmic meteorite has indeed come for football’s friendliest dinosaur, and that from next season the Gunners will have a new mascot.
A source close to Arsenal’s owners, KSE, told us, “Yes, this is 100% a cost-cutting measure.
“Finances have been a big problem since the pandemic hit, and every penny saved is a penny which can go towards team building.
“Stan and Josh knew this would be an unpopular move because Gunnersaurus was cherished by fans young and old alike, but they also know that supporters would prefer any money was spent on new signings and trying to bring in Martin Odegaard on a permanent basis.
“They’re not completely tone deaf though, and they have made some genuine efforts to ensure the new mascot will connect with everyone.”
The club put the design out for tender, eventually going with Brighton-based, Scandinavian owned agency skämt (@skamt_agency).
OhMyArsenal.com can reveal the new mascot and its key design features.
Ball-y (as in ball-ee): There was much discussion over whether or not to use the hyphen, and genuine concern over whether people might mistake it for an upper-crust exclamation, but in the end the need not to get sued by the shoe company Bally swayed the final decision.
It’s also a nod to former Arsenal player, Alan Ball, to make it connect with the older generation, and the 2008 film WALL-E which will ensure the legions of Pixar fans will get on board straight away.
It’s a big red ball. Arsenal are a football club who play in red. A red ball, with a smiling face which displays the club’s commitment to making people happy.
Again, there’s another gesture towards fans who enjoy the history of the club, and those who were upset by the change of badge in the early 2000s, in that the original cannon will be used as Ball-y‘s nose.
“It’s a touch of class that Stan is sure fans will love,” said our source.
To ensure cost-savings, Ball-y will be a virtual mascot only. This means not having to make a complicated costume, or pay someone to be in it. Some of the things that Gunnersaurus did on game day, such as go in goal to pretend to save penalties from Junior Gunners, will now be done by playing staff who have not made the squad for that day’s game. KSE’s feeling is that they should be doing something to earn their wages for that week, and it will help build the connection between young fans and the club.
A key selling point of the new mascot is how versatile it is. We’ve seen mock-ups for St Patrick’s Day Ball-y:
Merchandise and launch
A new range of merchandise will be released, with the new mascot present on Ball-y mugs, Ball-y t-shirts, Ball-y keyrings, and an exciting collection of ballbags.
An exclusive launch party is planned for pre-season, but before then the club will say a fond farewell to Gunnersaurus with a ‘Jurassic Arse’ dinosaur themed event, taking place in the Diamond Club hosted by Vic ‘Velociraptor’ Akers.