WHAT’S in a name? Football grounds around the country have always provided a rich, alluring sense of historical intrigue. The numerous Spion Kops that formed many a steep terracing of yore in the UK, for instance, were named after the Battle of Spion Kop during the second Boer War. The Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, meanwhile, encapsulated the carnage and futility of trying to get a renewal on your building and contents cover. And as for the Tony Macaroni Arena? Nothing strikes fear into fans and players of an opposing team quite like the tentative trip into the bear pit of a stadium emblazoned with adverts for a nice pasta dish.

Vive per mangiare? “Is that the name of Livingston’s on loan Italian midfielder?,” asked the diarist. “No, you philistine,” tut-tutted the sports editor with an air of continental culinary authority. “It means ‘live to eat’,” he added before burning his mooth on a Pot Noodle.

Just the other day, Dumbarton officials announced that they were looking for a new ground sponsor following the end of a deal which had led to their home being called the catchy YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium. And to think folk used to take the mickey out of Bogheid? While many puerile headline writers have revelled in footballing affairs at the Wankdorf Stadium in Switzerland or the Middelfart Stadium in Denmark, the diarist has always been captivated by the home of the Isthmian League South Division side, Lewes FC, which is known as The Dripping Pan. Isn’t that what they used to cook the succulent lamb on for the Scottish fitba’ journalists?

MANY a muttering Rangers fan thought Carlos Pena was taking the you know what by picking up £20,000 a week in wages but he has upped the ante on that front by getting his P45 from Cruz Aluz, the club he was on loan to, for urinating in a fountain. At least the hapless Pena chose to relieve himself in a lavish edifice that has a variety of ornate water features. The Rangers board, meanwhile, continue to stick to the routine, hum-drum procedure of p***ing money up the wall.

STAYING with the Gers and there were lively scenes outside a Glasgow hotel last weekend. A furious, fist-shaking mob gathered menacingly in the wake of the 5-0 horsing by Celtic to hurl abuse at Rangers officials ahead of the Player of the Year awards. There was no need for panic, of course. It was just the football scribes trying to get a follow up amid the club’s petty media black out.

FANS will go to a variety of lengths to follow their team. A supporter of Denizlispor in Turkey got round a 12 month stadium ban by renting a cherry picker and taking in a match against Gaziantepspor from outside the stadium. After watching their team fail to win a league game all season, long-suffering Brechin City fans have been inspired. They will ask their enterprising Turkish counterpart for tips on getting a stadium ban …

THE diarist and his colleagues have made the trip south to the GolfSixes this weekend where the process of negotiating the roonaboots and ringroads of Hemel Hempstead en route to our bolthole remains a palaver on a par with birling around the Arc de Triomphe on a Penny Farthing. At the first roundabout, take the second exit signposted town centre and at the next roundabout take the third exit and then the second exit at the mini-roundabout. At the Magic Roundabout, which was actually a genuine sign and was basically a series of mini-roundabouts in one big roundabout, bear right under the bridge. At which point we were back in Glasgow ...

A Houdini Act, the Great Escape? Whatever you want to call it, Martin Allen will be trying to do it this weekend with Barnet. The 52-year-old has a love-hate relationship with the Bees which makes Fatal Attraction look like Steptoe & Son. He returned to Barnet for a fifth time as manager in March with the club seven points adrift of safety at the bottom of English League Two. A win over already-relegated Chesterfield today could preserve their Football League status, providing Morecambe slip up at Coventry City. When Allen took the post again, he said it looked like “mission impossible”. It could be worse, of course. He could be Steven Gerrard.