Special football relationship helped forge marriage
- Credit: GRAHAME CARTER
Football shirts of Ipswich Town and Fortuna Dusseldorf may not be the most obvious of wedding day attire.
But the kit proved more than apt after the special relationship between Ipswich Town and Fortuna Dusseldorf helped forge a relationship of a different kind - the marriage of two fans.
Grahame Carter, 68, wore the colours of his beloved Ipswich Town when he married the other love of his life Ines, 62, a Fortuna fan.
The two football fans met while Grahame was on holiday in Dusseldorf watching the Tractor boys take on the then 2.Bundesliga outfit in a friendly in July 2015.
It is fair to say he didn't expect the trip to lead to marriage.
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He and more than 600 other Blues fans made the trip as part of the two clubs continued friendship, with supporters making the journey each way every year in celebration of their successful histories.
After meeting Ines outside a pub in the city's popular old town district, the two exchanged email addresses with Grahame promising to send Ines an Ipswich flag.
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"I emailed her and it went into her spam inbox," he laughed. "Thankfully, this was the one and only time she had ever checked in it."
The two ended up exchanging more than 1,000 emails in the following months before Grahame decided to take the bold step of moving to a country where he didn't speak the language.
"It was a bit of a sticky situation to start with," he explained. "In our first apartment we had a bed and a TV - nothing else.
"We used to sit on the floor with the TV on a cardboard box, but we had each other."
Such is their commitment to their teams, they each have tattoos of their club's badges and decided that their football shirts would be the perfect dress for their wedding day.
"It was going to be too complicated to get married here," he said. "Ines has a friend who got married in Las Vegas, and we thought 'well, why not?'.
Exactly two years after they first met, the two walked down the aisle before returning to their new house in Erkrath, just outside Dusseldorf.
For Grahame, his marriage stands testament to the special relationship the two clubs share: "I can't think of any other clubs that have what we have.
"It is all thanks to the fans."
Ulli Hildener, chairman of the Fortuna Blues fan club, added: "When Ines and Grahame met, the god of football was involved, there is no doubt about that - and the Dusseldorf Ipswich connection was the perfect environment for this lovely commitment."
The two clubs will meet again in July, when they play each other in the Interwetten Cup.