Regarded as one of the best halfbacks to have ever played the game, the Newcastle Knights have told Andrew Johns that they don’t have the funds to keep him on board as the halfback coach.

The move will no doubt cause some friction between the Newcastle board and their fans, but it only makes the argument stronger for mining magnate Nathan Tinkler to buy the club with permission from the Newcastle board.

The Knights failure to offer Johns a new contract for 2011 as a part-time coach comes less than a fortnight after the Knights decided to reject a $10 million offer from Tinkler to purchase the club.

Andrew Johns has been involved with the Newcastle club for 21 years, so many wonder whether or not this is the last we have seen of him, directly associated with Newcastle.

Surprisingly, Johns will be working with new union franchise the Melbourne Rebels, the Raiders and Manly, but not for the team that he won two premierships with in a time where he was considered the game’s best player.

Johns wasn’t in much of a talking mood yesterday, particularly about the split, but he did confirm that he and the Knights had parted ways.

“I’m not going to be there next season but I don’t want to say anything, mate. You’re better off talking to someone at the club about it,” Johns said.

Those who are close with the former Knight say that he is absolutely shell-shocked at the decision of the Knights to not retain him.

“They didn’t want to pay him the money and he had other offers … so that’s where it ended,” a source close to Johns said.

Chief Executive of the Knights football club said that he was unaware of any presupposed deadline about re-signing Johns.

“Joey asked for an increase which we were finding hard to justify within our football budget, but I was under the impression negotiations were on-going,” Burraston said.

“We had a meeting during the week and were looking at asking him what he would charge us per session and taking it from there.

“I can assure you we didn’t want to cut him off.”

By ricky

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