Meet the Management Board

Mark Spoors – Chairman – Mark set up Big Red Management in 2003. Having read marketing with law at university Mark spent the first 3 years working for sports management companies IMG & Sports Masters International, before setting up Big Red.

Shaun Longstaff is a former Scotland International winger. A distinguished career with a long service to Scottish rugby, Shaun played at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Borders as well as stints at French clubs Castres and Pau. A well respected member of the professional rugby fraternity, his connections and knowledge of the game are second to none.

Duncan Sandlant is the Managing Director of Esportif International’s European office. He is a qualified employment lawyer with over twenty years legal experience specialising in sports law. He also still consults with Lewis Silkin, a leading London based law firm, where he is part of their Sports Law Team. Duncan has been managing and representing players and coaches for over ten years.

Rhys Parsons is a Director of Esportif International’s European office and specialises in searching for and obtaining playing and coaching opportunities for clients in the UK and French markets.

Rhys is fluent in French and is licenced by the French Rugby Federation to represent professional players, coaches and clubs in France. Rhys is a qualified lawyer who specialises in sports related employment law and has over 6 years legal experience working in London, Paris and Cardiff.

Richard Wilks played professionally for Sale Sharks from 1999 to 2003 after graduating from Newcastle University. During his time at Sale Sharks he started working as a consultant for Brabners Chaffe Street law firm. He joined SFX in 2005 and went to Wasserman Media Group as a Director when they acquired SFX globally. In 2008 he left WMG and established Green Room Sports Management.

Richard Cranmer obtained an LLB Honours Law degree from Leeds Metropolitan University and an LLM in Advanced Litigation at Nottingham University. Richard has over 25 years of legal experience having qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and formed Cramer Richards solicitors in 2002. Richard is a Registered Lawyer with The Football Association and acts as an agent in Rugby League, Rugby Union and Cricket.

Christian Abt is a qualified lawyer and has been working in the Industry since 2001. Born and raised in South Africa he has lived in England since 2000. During his time in the Sports Management Industry Christian has created an excellent client base which can be found throughout world rugby and sourced a number of commercial opportunities for his clients.

Dave Williams worked in journalism, copywriting and PR before embarking on a nine year career with sports brand Puma (in the UK and Germany) with management roles in sports promotion, PR and investor relations. Before leaving Puma in autumn 1999, he held the position of Head of Marketing, Europe. Dave is also the co-publisher of Running Rugby – a magazine for decision makers in Union and League.

Tim Lopez Heading up Essentially’s UK Rugby Management Division- Fluent in Italian, Spanish and French, Tim has been instrumental in developing Essentially’s brand across the continent and works with players and clubs across Europe. He has also obtained an FFR licence to trade in France. Tim also obtained the FIR licence (Italian Federation). Tim has a wealth of experience within the sports industry, having worked across sports PR, sponsorship and media before joining Essentially from World in member of the Athlete management division, representing some of the best rugby players and coaches around the world.

Pete Simmons having attended Otago University where he obtained a BCom and LLB, Pete was later admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand in 2005.

Pete established his expertise in contractual drafting and negotiation, while working as a commodities trader and solicitor before joining Essentially in 2008. He has a vast knowledge of the global rugby market, a reputation for integrity and commitment.