C’mon The Unicorns

Among the more interesting topics of discussion at Melville’s July management committee meeting was a re-appraisal of the club’s emblem, or crest, which in my opinion has always looked a touch shabby and indistinct.

I’ve long pondered what exactly was represented on that Melville heraldry. To me it looked like a couple of horses separated by some autumn leaves falling between them, no doubt symbolising the deciduous trees overhanging the Gower carpark.

But no! Turns out it is apparently meant to be two unicorns breathing fire. In most legends one unicorn is rarer than rare, but Melville have two of them. And fire-breathing ones, no less. They haven’t even got those on Game of Thrones.

The committee resolved to commission a tidy-up of the club crest, which should result in something more sharply defined that we can rally around.

In earlier times most clubs took the coat-of-arms of their town or community as their insignia, and such crests were the most common form of emblem prior to the 1980s. In modern times crests have taken more contemporary designs, which are less fussy and complicated, and easier to commit to memory and recognise at a distance.

Traditionally where animals appear in emblems they tend to be one which reflect power or savage determination (birds of prey, bulls, wolves, stallions, bears, etc). So the unicorn has erm, a point of difference.

As everyone knows, the unicorn is a legendary creature, described since antiquity as a beast with a single large, pointed, spiralling horn projecting from its forehead. It’s a magical horned-horse that missed Noah’s ark boarding.

Indeed, the unicorn is one of a very few mythological creatures that is considered to be beneficial in almost all traditions. It represents love, purity, and the seeking of natural truth. It symbolizes balance of the yin and yang, and recognizes the power and mystique that animals can bring into our lives; which can ultimately help us learn the core of who we really are.

In the Middle Ages the unicorn was considered a wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin (which sadly means we could never catch one at Gower Park). Its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness.

Alternately, the Urban Dictionary defines a unicorn as a girl that is remarkably attractive, sexy, with a great personality, but not at all batshit crazy. “That girl is a ten for sure.” “No bro, she’s not a ten – she’s beyond a ten. She’s my unicorn.” (Mind you, it also describes a unicorn as a cute fluffy creature with a magical cone on its head that farts rainbows.)

Meanwhile in heraldry the unicorn is best known as a Scottish symbol. The unicorn was chosen because it was seen as a proud and haughty beast which would rather die than be captured, just as Scots would fight to remain sovereign and unconquered.

But either way, the unicorn schtick on the badge gives Melville an overdue and much-needed back story that I’d like to see extended well beyond the club crest.

Melville United as a club need a nickname. To the delight of headline writers everywhere, Melville’s predecessor club, Waikato United, became known as The Bulls, and 20 years after the disappearance of that Waikato United brand, I believe we should now similarly embrace the unicorn.

Nicknames are commonly derived from club emblems, and I propose that hence-forth Melville United be informally known as “The Unicorns”.

Go the Unicorns! — Bruce Holloway, Programme editor.

This article originally appeared in Melville’s match programme, 22.7.2017

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