Bolton frustrate Newcastle
Kevin Keegan's return to Newcastle hasn't started the way he would have hoped as Bolton frustrated the Geordies to a 0-0 draw. Bolton threw in an uncompromising display to prevent Newcastle from breaking the deadlock.
A lacklustre 90 minutes in Keegan's first match back in charge fully justified his call to be given time to weave his magic at the Tyneside club.
Newcastle's new manager will clearly have his work cut out to achieve his double aim of breaking into the top four and ending the club's 53-year wait for a major domestic trophy.
This latest disappointment leaves Newcastle anchored in mid-table without a victory in six league games and a distant 12 points adrift of the top six.
Keegan, who has revealed to friends he has a 'bottomless pit' of funds at his disposal, is clearly in urgent need of accessing the transfer kitty made available by billionaire owner Mike Ashley.
The returning hero has promised a return to the gung-ho attacking ways of the 'entertainers' side he fashioned here so thrilled fans in the mid-1990s as it went desperately close to wrestling the title from Manchester United in 1996.
But it was in little evidence at a near sell-out St James' Park, as it took Newcastle 31 minutes to muster a shot on goal.
Even that was an apologetic effort from David Rozehnal, who was pressed into service as an emergency midfielder.
No-one summed up Newcastle's current demise more than the hopelessly out of touch Michael Owen, who was made captain in the absence of the suspended Alan Smith, one of eight players unavailable through injury, bans and call-ups to the African Nations Cup, while Joey Barton's bail conditions continue to exclude the troubled midfielder.
The game was dreadful. uninspiring, and not the start that Keegan would've hoped for.