Funny how those more recently converted to a cause often go about their new-found passion with a little more zest than any long-time followers of the faith. Perhaps it has something to do with making up for lost time. Whatever the reasons, the life of Lee Daley is a case in point. These days Daley plies his trade as commercial director for Manchester United with an almost religious fervour. And while the United spin doctors would have us believe Daley has been a United 'fanatic' since an early age, the real story is a little different. Like most converts, Daley can remember the moment he saw the light, almost down to the second. 'Growing up I supported my hometown team, which was Grimsby Town, and whom my dad [Tom Daley] had played for as a keeper,' Daley said. 'But football went off the radar for me in my late teens as I stopped playing, and uni, girls and nightclubs came along. 'Then, almost by chance, I went to see United in a quite famous game - March 21, 1984, against Barcelona in the second leg of a European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final. We got to the ground late, the floodlights were on, there were 5,800 people there. I went in there and I was instantly hooked.' Some 20 years later - after a successful career in marketing and advertising - Daley got the chance to do what most supporters can only dream of. He got to join the fold. When United advertised for a new commercial director earlier this year, all it took was a little urging from his daughter and Daley fired away his application. Now he is charged with expanding United's fan base - and finding new ways to serve the fans who are already out there. There are those among us who might dare to suggest that, at an estimated 100 million worldwide, there are already more United fans around than the world really needs. But Daley is of the opinion that the club can do even more to both attract and keep hold of the faithful. 'I looked at the business and saw that this could be two or three times what it is,' he said. Hence, no doubt, United's successful tour through Asia - which is what brought Daley to Hong Kong, pressing the flesh and working the boardrooms while the players enjoyed a day off in Macau either shopping or on the golf course. 'The marketing of Manchester United in Asia has for a very long time been done by virtue of broadcast television,' said the 44-year-old Daley. 'So the opportunity for fans to experience Manchester United as a brand has been somewhat limited. What we can do is ramp up the ways people can experience the club. To do that we have to look at the ways they come together as a group to watch football and the different ways they want to enjoy the brand.' What United have recognised is that the expectations of the, say, Singaporean football fan is different to that of someone in Hong Kong. 'It's a bit of a western disease to say 'Asia' when the fact is there are unique cultural differences between the markets here [and] the fans will want to enjoy the club in different ways,' Daley said. 'You have to understand the similarities and differences.' Of course, if Manchester United were still losing to the likes of Leeds United week in week out [yes, there was a time] the lure of the red shirt would not be quite as strong as it is. That's something that goes hand in hand with the Old Trafford club's moves towards global domination. 'It's simple,' Daley said. 'You are more likely to have more support if you are successful. The bedrock of Man United success has been the academy system, investment in training, investment in a certain philosophy about the way the game of football should be played. And those things don't happen overnight. They are challenges for a football club that doesn't have the history of success of a Manchester United, an Arsenal, a Liverpool.' Carson Yeung - whose company has a major stake in English Premier League side Birmingham City - might want to take note. What United also have, of course, is one of the world's most recognisable brands - built through history and very human stories. And that inspires a hold the club have on their faithful that even the most bitter of foes can at least recognise, however begrudgingly. And Daley again is a case in point. 'I was a United fan before I came to work for them and I will be a United fan after I leave,' he said. 'Really it was a business decision for me to come to work for United.' And you can believe him. Almost.