"We do have this passionate, passionate following globally. I don’t think ours is as big as United's, ha! But it’s alright and that faith never goes away."
Music's equivalent of a season ticket has helped Steve's band to survive and thrive; like thousands of United fans committing to the campaign ahead, Marillion followers will pay for the next album without hearing any songs.
"It all started in the mid-Nineties when our American fans heard we didn't have the funding for us to tour over there - so they set up a bank account and an internet campaign, and paid for us to go," recalled Steve. "After that, we started the tradition of putting our albums on pre-order - we were the first band to do it but the likes of Madonna have done it since.
"Our fans have even been known to buy our records before we’ve written them. It's always very touching when people do that, especially when they have worked hard for the money. Like the bloke buying season tickets for himself and his son, it's an act of faith."
Steve Hogarth will perform twice in Manchester later this year - with Richard Barbieri in September and Marillion in November. For tour dates and details, see marillion.com.