Andrew Johns sacked from Knights in 2011 NEWCASTLE legend Andrew Johns has been forced to walk away from his part-time coaching role at the Knights after being told the club couldn't afford him. In a move that will leave Newcastle fans stunned and provide further ammunition for supporters of mining magnate Nathan Tinkler's takeover bid, Johns and the Knights have parted company after failing to reach agreement over a new contract for 2011. It comes less than a fortnight after the Knights rejected a $10 million offer from Tinkler to buy the club. The split effectively ends Johns' 21-year direct association with Newcastle. It will be the first time since 1989, when he joined the Knights as a fresh-faced teenager, that he will not be at the club in some capacity. Incredibly, the halfback of the century will be working with rival clubs Melbourne, Canberra and Manly next season as well as new Super 15 rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels, but not for the club where he won two premierships and was lauded as the best player in the world. Johns was reluctant to discuss the issue yesterday, but he did confirm there had been a parting of the 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 close to Johns claim he is devastated at having to walk away. It is understood he had been negotiating with the Knights for close to two months but was finally forced to make other arrangements just over a week ago after the club failed to meet a deadline. "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. Knights chief executive Steve Burraston said he wasn't made aware of any deadline during negotiations. "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." Since Johns' forced retirement in 2007, he has worked in a specialised part-time coaching role, mentoring the likes of Kurt Gidley and Jarrod Mullen and a host of the club's young halves under coaches Brian Smith and Rick Stone. He was expected to play a major role next season in the development of the club's new halfback from St George Illawarra, Beau Henry, a player Johns recommended to the Knights. Johns' manager John Fordham said all lines of communication regarding negotiations with the Knights ended last week.