It’s that time of year again. The end of year polls are here, and it’s time for me to call upon you all to vote for me in the annual Soccerlens Awards. Such awards leave me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am always flattered beyond all reason to receive any attention of this sort whatsoever. On the other, though, I am fully aware of the fact that these polls tend to go in favour of the people with the most readers and, whilst my readers are obviously the most intelligent and physically attractive in the world, you are not many in number. At the time of writing, we are in second last place, and I don’t expect that to change very much over the next couple of weeks or so. While we’re about it, for the record, my vote went to Chris Taylor in the Best New Blogger category and Tom Dunmore in the Best Blog Design category (even though it hasn’t been updated for a couple of months or so).

All of this leads me, in an altogether more roundabout fashion than you might have expected, to the topic of this evening’s sermon. THP started in May 2006, and has survived several different designs, a change of hosting and occasional bouts of ennui on my own part. Still, however, I don’t believe that the most obvious changes (which have occurred this year) have been altogether successful. THP feels less like a community than it used to, and viewing figures seem to be declining slowly. I have given careful consideration as to why this might be, and have arrived at two conclusions. Firstly, the design has not, I think, been helping. There is too much text, and there are not enough pictures. Part of the appeal of THP was that you could get downloads, music and video on here, and that has become less and less of a feature here over the last few months. Secondly, the subjects have been rather erring on the dry side. Don’t get me wrong – I continue to look for the stories that aren’t being covered elsewhere. That was the point of the site in the first place. There hasn’t, however, been enough brevity and there hasn’t been enough humour.

So, what can be done about this? On the design side, you can probably guess. Yet again, I’ll be having a long, hard look at redesigning the site. You may click on here from time to time over the next few days and find it looking a bit strange. Don’t worry. It just means that I’m fiddling with the code. Secondly, it’s time to get back to what made this site different to the rest in the first place. You may or may not notice the changes, but I’ll be trying to limit the lengthy, earnest posts on here and be a little bit more punchy. Bear with me. It will be worth it. There may be further changes in the new year, and I’ll keep you updated as and when. I have one final appeal to make. I have asked for assistance with this site on several occasions before, and am repeating it again now. There is a chance that commitments elsewhere will mean that I have no alternative but to cut down on the amount that I write on here. If anyone wants to help out with this, click on here and drop me a line.