Gunnersaurus, the affable green dinosaur, is arguably the most popular mascot in the Premier League, if not the entire footballing world. Yet, there has always been an elephant in the room: why is a dinosaur the face of a football club named Arsenal? Well, the answer to that lies in a competition from the 1993/94 season.

gunnersaurus cupIn a bid to engage their youngest fans, Arsenal ran a contest for Junior Gunners to design an original mascot for the club. Among the submissions, one stood out: a green dinosaur, christened Gunnersaurus, designed by an 11-year-old fan, Peter Lovell.

Peter’s concept embodied the ferocity he believed Arsenal stood for. His design envisioned a 7-to-8 feet tall mascot, donning the team’s kit, which would change with the seasons, just like the players’ attire.

The concept was a hit, and Gunnersaurus was officially introduced to the world in 1994.

ozil gunnersaurusOver the years, Gunnersaurus has become more than just a mascot. He’s been a part of countless open-top bus parades, attended Peter’s wedding, and even taken on the Ice Bucket Challenge. For Peter, watching Gunnersaurus hug former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was a moment of overwhelming pride, almost bringing him to tears.

However, the journey hasn’t been without its bumps. Amid the pandemic, Arsenal made the decision to let go of Gunnersaurus to cut costs while fans couldn’t attend games.

This move was met with global grief from fans and even drew protests from unexpected quarters, including Shrek’s voice actor, Mike Myers.

Former Arsenal player Mesut Ozil also offered to pay Gunnersaurus’s wages for as long as he stayed at the club, though his own stint at Arsenal ended shortly after.

Today, Gunnersaurus continues to be a symbol of joy, community spirit, and the unyielding ferocity that Arsenal stands for. And now, every time you see this loveable dinosaur prancing around the Emirates Stadium, you’ll know the heartwarming story behind it.