Ex-England striker Michael Owen baffles Deal or No Deal viewers with Banker risk

Michael Owen kicked off the special celebrity edition of Deal or No Deal with some choices that left viewers baffled.

The former Liverpool and England footballer appeared on the recently rebooted ITV gameshow on Sunday (17 December), aiming to raise money for the eye health charity Fight for Sight – an organisation close to his heart, due to his son James having a deteriorating eye condition.

Owen, 44, was joined by family and friends throughout the game, as they assisted with opening the famous red boxes each with randomly allocated amounts inside, ranging from 1p to £250,000.

At the start of the game the former striker was on a streak as he consistently opened lower value boxes ­– resulting in higher offers from the Banker.

Michael Owen on Deal or No Deal (ITV/screengrab)
Michael Owen on Deal or No Deal (ITV/screengrab)

However, when the Banker proposed a deal of £10,200, Owen turned it down in the hopes that he’d be left with a big money sum at the final whistle.

At this point, he had boxes worth £4,000, £5,000 and £25,000 still in play and believed that he had the five-figure sum in his own box, selected at the start of the game.

“If it was your money, you wouldn’t deal, would you,” Neil “Razor” Ruddock, Owen’s former teammate, reasoned.

However, Owen soon opened the box belonging to his daughter and former Love Island contestant Gemma Owen, which contained the £25,000 he was hoping for.

Gemma Owen’s box on Deal or No Deal (ITV / screengrab)
Gemma Owen’s box on Deal or No Deal (ITV / screengrab)

The game ended with Owen bagging £4,000 for charity, as that was the amount left in the box that he chose at the start of the game – thousands of pounds lower than the Banker’s previous offer.

In response, some viewers shared some opinions questioning Owen’s tactics.

“Anyone in their right mind, playing for charity, would’ve accepted the Deal and given them £10k to charity,” one viewer wrote on X/Twitter.

Another person commented on the unusual prospect of seeing a wealthy person raise funds he could presumably donate himself.

The viewer wrote: “Footballers on a charity Deal or No Deal is such an odd concept. Like I am sure Michael Owen could sneeze and dislodge £4k from his pockets.”

Earlier this month, a contestant living with motor neurone disease walked away from the programme with just £5 – but viewers rallied round to raise over £43,000 for him to go toward fulfilling his bucket list.