They say diamonds are forever and Ian Graham certainly agrees.
The star-struck former policeman has blown a staggering £250,000 following his hero Neil Diamond around the world.
Ian has named his four cats after the crooner’s hits, has a loft packed with memorabilia and even has a car with the number plate NLD Neil Leslie Diamond’s initials.
The super fan who has been following the star since 1968 has only missed four UK performances during that time.
He has met the Sweet Caroline singer numerous times and wears the same jumper with a frog on the front to every show to make it easy for Diamond to spot him in the crowd.
“I just love everything about him,” said Edinburgh-born Ian, 60, whose love of the Brooklyn born singer, 74, was ignited when he heard the song Solitary Man at a Hearts match 40 years ago. I’m just fortunate I’ve been able to follow and support him so much.”
Ian flew to New York last week to see the crooner perform a home-coming gig. But more than anything, he’s now looking forward to Diamond’s sparkling British stop-off in Blackpool.
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Incredibly, it will be the 230th time Ian has seen the songster perform, and wife Jenny’s 100th show.
Ian added: “I have been lucky enough to meet Neil. He is so good to his fans and appreciates the support.
“On stage he’s this great flamboyant character and then when you meet him off stage he comes across as this genuinely humble guy.”
Ian is famous among Diamond’s loyal army of fans for wearing a jumper with a frog logo and the words “Neil Diamond, the frog who dreamed of becoming a King” to every concert.
He said: “I get recognised by this jumper as I wear it to every concert.
“It’s great that the last night of the UK tour is in Blackpool.
“Every Neil Diamond concert we go to is special but Blackpool will be particularly memorable for me and Jenny this year as it marks her 100th concert.
“You also never know if this is the last tour so it’s very special for us. It’s going to be a great night to remember.
“It’s the Las Vegas of the north and I think Blackpool will be a huge success.”
Ian’s huge stash of memorabilia includes tour shirts worn by Diamond, 1,500 vinyl singles and an autographed guitar. “I am lucky to have such a great collection,” he said.
But his most precious piece of memorabilia is an old police helmet he gifted to Diamond.
“I gave this to Neil 13 years ago,” explained Ian. “But then his wife Katie spotted me at a concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles three years ago and she returned it to me as Neil had written a message to me saying ‘Thank you for all the kind words’.
“That is very special and has pride of place in a glass cabinet to protect it.”
Peter Taylor, who’s behind the July 23 Blackpool show, said: “It’s great to hear of fans like Ian.”
Tickets for the fully seated concert in Blackpool are available from ticketline.co.uk or by calling 0844 888 9991. Tickets for other shows, including Glasgow
and Manchester, are available via ticketmaster.co.uk.
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