Newcastle Jets announced today they have sacked coach Branko Culina while also seeking permission to terminate the contract of his injured son Jason.
The surprise news comes just days before the start of the A-League season with Culina having overseen the Jets' preparation ahead of Saturday's opening game against Melbourne Heart.
The serious knee injury to Jason, which has ended his season and possibly his career, is believed to be at the heart of the issue.
Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby told the club website: "The decision to terminate the contracts was made after a long deliberation by the Newcastle Jets' Advisory Board. The club believes that it is highly unlikely that Jason will return to the A-League in the near future, following medical advice."
Culina Snr, who was also sacked from Sydney FC, had been signed on a five-year extension until 2015 late last year, while Jason Culina was on a three-year playing deal.
"Jason's injury could mean the Jets are without their marquee player for up to three seasons - not a good result for the club, supporters, sponsors and players," owner Nathan Tinkler said. "While I acknowledge the difficult timing of this announcement, I am confident in the character of the Jets' players and staff who will quickly put this matter behind them and enjoy a great season."
Captain Jobe Wheelhouse added: "We thank Branko for his contribution to the club and wish him all the best for the future. We are professional footballers and after our long pre-season it is important we remained focused on Saturday's game.
"When faced with this type of adversity it can often spur players and the team on to greater performances. We are hopeful for a big turnout at Ausgrid Stadium, and our members and can be assured that we will do Newcastle proud."