Everyone loves a wholesome little story. With everything that has been going on, these stories are more important than they ever have been. They help us to get through these weird times. With Peak of the Week, I am hoping we can provide some nice stories to help keep us all going.
Being an Arsenal fan these days can be almost torturous at times, and I reference the recent 3-0 game against Aston Villa. It’s still painful. One of the club’s highest points in the last decade came 7 years ago when they managed to sign one Mesut Özil. His omission from the current squad has raised questions, but Football aside, Özil is known for one particular thing: his immense charitable contributions throughout the years.
In the midst of the current pandemic, football clubs on all levels have been financially impacted significantly, and Arsenal is no exception to this. Since August, the club has made around 55 members of staff redundant to ease their loss in revenue, among them being Jerry Quy, who played the club’s endearing mascot Gunnersaurus for over 20 years. Seeing footballers make sickening amounts of money each week led to a fervent backlash against the club. At this point, Özil, who is contracted to the club until the end of the season, offered to pay Quy’s salary for as long as he is an Arsenal player. This, thankfully, resulted in Quy getting his job back. Now, seeing it get to this point presents its own issues, but Özil’s kind actions were not missed on the community.
See, it isn’t out of character for Özil to act charitably. He is an ambassador for the charity Rays of Sunshine, where they help grant wishes for ill children. His 30th birthday party was celebrated with many of the children they support. A video of this can be found on his YouTube channel, and seeing how happy it makes everyone involved is genuinely heart-warming. His World Cup winnings from 2014, approximately £240,000, went to fund surgery for 23 sick children in the host nation, Brazil. In 2019, to celebrate his wedding, he and fiancé Amine Gulse vowed to pay for another 1,000 life-changing surgeries for children. In a sport so commercially driven, Mesut Özil's heart of gold shows a more human side to those in the game today and is a shining example of using one’s privilege for good.