Melville AGM: Unicorns exterminated

Melville United’s AGM has rejected a proposal to embrace a club nickname of “The Unicorns”.

The AGM, attended by 24 of the club’s 300-odd members, was unconvinced by the notice of motion to recognise the fire-breathing unicorns identified on the Melville’s historic crest by way of an official nickname under the club’s constitution.

The motion was soundly defeated, with the most vociferous speakers saying it reminded them too much of little known non-league Hamilton club Waikato Unicol.

One senior management committee member advised that – while he didn’t use the term himself – in common Waikato football parlance “unicorn” was a derogatory term associated with “genitalia on the head” which was traditionally associated with fringe elements of the Unicol club.

The symbolic link would be unhelpful and would prey on the minds of more sensitive club members.

Otherwise fearless Melville Nobs midfielder Subesh Naidu reinforced that view by confessing to the meeting that he would “wet himself” if he was branded as a unicorn by association.

Other speakers wondered whether the club could somehow cut off the unicorns’ horns on the club crest and call themselves The Stallions (yes, even the women’s teams – it was that sort of meeting).

Research earlier this year showed the Melville crest represented two fire-breathing unicorns, with the mythological animal common to longstanding heraldry in other organisations in south-west Hamilton.

Melville chairman Bruce Holloway vacated the chair and moved that the nickname be adopted by an amendment to Rule 1 of the club’s constitution, but failed to garner the necessary two thirds support from the meeting floor – where many members appeared terrified of the alleged Unicol link.

Holloway – ironically Waikato Unicol’s president back in 1986 – was less faint-hearted.

He was unsurprised by the meeting’s failure to pursue the opportunity to build a brand based on history, symbolism and new marketing possibilities, but was disappointed by the poor quality of the debate.

“It’s always a tough crowd at Melville AGMs but the branding benefits of sports club nicknames are bog-obvious all over the world, for anyone who has ventured beyond Gower Park,” he said.

“In the 21st year of the formation of Melville United it would have been an ideal time to recognise our ‘coming of age’ by both embracing the heritage of the club crest and taking it forward in an exciting new form.

“Instead we somehow ended up with an unfortunate discussion about ‘dickheads’ from the poor side of town.

“To have been defeated on the basis of empirical historical data or the polemics of informed marketing would have been fine.

“However to be derailed on the basis of puerile insults directed at a minor Hamilton club borders on the tragic, but there you go. We have to aim higher.”

Holloway said he had no intention of mocking the insecurities of more fragile club members, and was not opposed to club-subsidised counselling for traumatised would-be Unicorns.

But he would now seize the mythological “unicorn spirit” and next year submit that Melville adopt the nickname “The Griffins” in tandem with digitally scrambling the historic club crest so nobody could point out the glaring incongruities.

“No particular reason,” he said. “Reason obviously doesn’t come into these things.”

Meanwhile the club reported a 5-figure operating surplus, but a small loss after depreciation was applied.

# East Unicorns beat West Unicorns 8-6 in the pre-AGM match.

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