Allardyce had a frustrating eight months trying to curb Smith's coments to referees, and his idea of making him skipper was thought to be a way around the problem.
The captain has the right to question a referee's decision, but it only encouraged Smith to make his feelings felt.
The England international has been booked nine times this season, almost all of them for being vocal, and Keegan takes a tough line on what he describes as "needless bookings".
We all know of Owen's attack on Keegan's tenure as England manager in his book, and that is probably a way of calming down an explosive situation with the England star.
'I looked at the players I had got, and I honestly believed Michael was the most experienced player on the pitch, along with Shay Given.
'I told Shay I would like Michael to lead it from the front, and he said, "Fine - I fully understand. I've got no problems with that".'