Why Ronan Curtis is driving his mum Marie 'mad' and the meals on wheels service she's providing for his Portsmouth team-mate
A home-cooked meal sits on Andy Cannon’s doorstep every night.
As the midfielder self-isolates after testing positive for coronavirus, the mum of one of his Pompey team-mates is trying her best to ensure he makes a full recovery.
Marie Curtis is used to cooking for a full household. One more doesn't make a difference to her. Cannon is round for a Sunday roast most weekends anyway.
And the drive from Old Portsmouth to Waterlooville is hardly an inconvenience, neither is washing up the 24-year-old’s plate from the previous evening.
Ronan Curtis’ mother was even preparing to do the same for Ross McCrorie – the fifth Blues player confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 – before finding out the Rangers loanee was recovering in his native Glasgow.
As those who follow her on Twitter well know, Marie's a big character.
From wishing supporters safe travels on away trips to speaking with supporters before and after games at Fratton Park, she's truly embraced the Pompey way of life.
And ensuring Cannon is over the virus before the Blues’ League One promotion charge recommences is just another example of her genial nature.
Marie said: ‘Every single night I've taken Andy’s dinner and left it on the doorstep.
‘I phone him to tell him what I'm making and ask him if he eats it. If he says no then I’ll make him something different, but he usually eats what we’ll be having.
‘I'll phone him up and say “I’m outside and your dinner is on the door step. Leave the dirty plate out and I’ll take it home with me”.
‘I was worried in case he didn't have the energy to make himself something to eat. He could be lying in the house on his own really ill and not able to make himself anything.
‘Andy lives with Tom Naylor, but he’s up north and hasn’t come back yet because of it. He might as well stay up north and be with his family now there’s no football or training.
'On Thursday, I took Andy some chocolate and biscuits with a bit of glucose in it, so if he doesn't fancy anything big they will keep him going.
‘Andy comes around quite often and has dinner with us because his mum is still up north.
‘He and Ronan have got very friendly so I always tell Andy I'm making dinner and to come round, so he’ll always come and have Sunday dinner.
'There was no way Andy's mum could have come down to look after him, so I've told him to tell her not to be worrying as I’ll make sure he’s all right.
‘I said to Ronan “you need to find out if Ross is on his own” because he was diagnosed with it. If he had nobody then we'd have to start taking dinners round to him.
‘When the boys used to play football growing up, I always took tea, coffee, sandwiches and hot chocolate in the car with me. At half-time, the parents would come over and say “what have we got today, Marie?”
‘You know what Irish women are like, they always look after the kids.’
Like us all, Republic of Ireland international Curtis will remain indoors for the majority of the next two-and-a-half weeks while the country is on lockdown.
The Pompey winger is undergoing his own training programme to ensure he keeps his fitness levels up while football is suspended until April 30 at the earliest.
But Curtis is clearly champing at the bid to get back out on the grass.
So much so he's knocking a ball against his bedroom wall all the time– much to his mum’s frustrations.
Marie added: ‘Ronan is driving me mad. He’s isolating up the stairs in his bedroom as a precaution.
‘I think the ceiling is going to come down one of these days with him playing football in the bedroom!
‘He’s kicking the ball off the wall. It’s like when he was younger when you'd tell him not to use his good foot, his right foot, but keep hitting the wall with your left foot for it to get better.
‘I’m going to have to put a new wall in by the time he’s finished – I’m glad it's his room and not mine.’
But while it's the jovial side of Marie we see the majority of the time, she's taking a serious attitude to this pandemic.
Watching her lad and Pompey means the world to the Irishwoman.
And she'd have been bursting with pride had Curtis been recalled for Eire's Euro 2020 play-off in Slovakia, which was meant to go ahead on Thursday.
But the potential loss of lives is far more important.
Marie said: ‘You have to suck it up. I said to Ronan that football has to take a back seat for now.
‘People’s lives are at stake here. Once I explained it, he had a different look and realised.
'I'm telling you now, I'd rather have him, my family, friends, neighbours and everybody else safe.
'You can go back to football any day. It might not be next month or the month after that but when it does then we’ll all have a big party.
‘You can always go back to football but you canny bring back a life. I love my football, but if you're going to save someone's life then I'd rather be without it.
‘Coronavirus is a silent killer. Nobody knows who has it or is going to get it.
‘I thought the football might have been behind closed doors but then you've got to take players, staff and everyone else into consideration as anyone could have the virus.
‘Thanks to the NHS for everything that they do, they are amazing.’