Former Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen left the club because he no longer trusted its board, the South Australian District Court has heard.

Coolen is suing the club for $2.2 million after launching an unfair dismissal claim last year.

He began the proceedings after he was demoted to youth team coach in December 2011 following a series of poor results.

The club has mounted a counterclaim, alleging the Dutchman and his agent John Grimaud misled them during contract negotiations about Coolen's experience and a rival job offer from a Japanese club.

Giving evidence for the first time today, Coolen said he met with the club's board to discuss a contract extension after a successful first season at the club.

"I came to the club two weeks before the season and we spent the whole season in the top three (on the table)," he said.

"They were happy with my results and my achievements and they told me constantly that they were happy to have me for a long time.

"I also got a sign when I left that our meeting was a good one. I was told they'd prefer to work together for a long time.

"(Club CEO Glenn) Elliott put his hand up and showed me his fingers, showing me he wanted me there for five years.

"I was excited about the future, to build a football club like Adelaide United."

Coolen said he contacted his agent the day after the meeting.

"I told him I had a very good feeling... and I was interested in working with Adelaide United for a long time," he said.

'Lost confidence'

Coolen denied that his agent told him, or that he told the club, he had a million dollar offer to coach in Japan.

He said he would not have signed his long-term contract without knowing he had the faith of the board.

Coolen said club chairman Greg Griffin told him at the time of his demotion his salary and conditions would not change.

But he said he chose to leave because he had lost confidence in the board.

"I wasn't sure if I could trust the things that were being said," he said.

"I lost confidence in the people that I'd spoken with. I didn't trust the situation.

"(My family and I) didn't come all over the world to work on my career and work in a very minor role. It could damage my position for the years after."


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