US analyst Mike Webber is not just a respected shipping and renewables guru — it appears he also knows quite a bit about football.

Just to be clear, this is association football we're talking about — "soccer" if you must — not its US namesake.

Each year, a group of shipping analysts and financiers take part in the Shipping Research Fantasy Football League to select players and earn points based on their performance in England's Premier League.

Team names have included Boom Xhakalaka, Game of Throw Ins, Pique Blinders and Me, My Delph and I.

Webber, who is a committed Arsenal fan, scooped the top prize for the final month of May in his first season in the competition.

League organiser Vivek Srivastava, a shipping economist and strategist who has worked for Heidmar and SSY, told TradeWinds that the industry's "corporate governance attack dog", founder of Webber Research & Advisory, is to be applauded for his tactics in the final week's set of fixtures.

"Several teams played twice and Man United played an unprecedented three times," Srivastava said.

Transfer policy

"Mike made five transfers ... and amassed a staggering 181 points in a single game week. How many managers in the history of fantasy football have ever done that?"

"Don't know if it meets the threshold above which you have to disclose it on your Business Practices Scorecard, but your prize money is on its way," Srivastava wrote in an update to the group.

Overall third place for the whole season went to Ness, Rissan & Partners' (NRP) "Adonis of asset management", Cedric Huysman.

"And both times I wondered if it was down to brilliant planning or just dumb luck?" Srivastava said. "Whichever one it was, Cedric certainly seems to have sustained it over the season."

NRP hit the headlines recently for buying and leasing back two chemical tankers to Christiania Shipping.

The league organiser said of Huysman: "And if we see you out on Aker Brygge during the next Nor Shipping, we will make a careful note of what speciality liquids you are loading, because they are obviously highly profitable and we need to switch into them."

The valiant runner-up was also from NRP, the "prodigy of project finance", Mats Olimb, who came first in the 2017/2018 season.

Recovery from a slow start

"Mats has been working his way up the table in stealth mode. He made a terrible start. But if we look at the monthly league tables since January, he came second twice and was usually near the top, overtaking Cedric in the final couple of months," Srivastava said.

But the 2020/2021 champion is Maritime Asset Partner's Oscar Ulstein, who hit the front in January.

His season points total of 2,509 — an average of over 66 points per game week — ranks him an amazing 5,778th out of the 8.2m people playing worldwide — in the top 0.07%.

"What is more astonishing is that he finishes the season with a squad value of £105.5m ($149m) and another £1.5m in the bank," Srivastava said.

"This is a bona fide high-single-digit unlevered return. Just imagine, Oscar, what you could achieve if you got some debt into the structure."

For the rest of the players, there is always next season.