THERE will be something a little surreal about covering football at Windy Hill this afternoon.
You can hardly help but be in awe, as a journalist, arriving at the spiritual home base for one of the nation's strongest clubs to watch football whether that be Collingwood at Victoria Park, Geelong at Kardinia Park or, like next Victorian Football League season, Richmond at Punt Road.
But the surreal nature likely to be evoked today is more about the drama of the modern Bombers - not the stuff of legends.
Each day you turn on your television, and in nearly every news break, there are grabs from door-stop interviews for the latest developments on the Essendon drug scandal.
Players, coaches, staff and even Bomber parent representative Tim Watson are shown at the Bombers' headquarters.
Television reporters do their live crosses from the Windy Hill sign out the front.
The place has become iconic and not for the right reasons anymore.
Wire fencing was erected earlier this month about the player car-park to fend off media and cut off the public quite literally from what is unfolding behind closed doors.
It will be hard not to arrive at the ground and get your bearings while wondering and even speculating the heated and fascinating conversations and plotting behind closed doors in the board room or what unfolded in player training facilities.
Or, allegedly in a clinic across the road.
My first visit to Windy Hill will be tainted but I am sure it will be etched in my memory forever.
Essendon and the constant turmoil the club is generating has overshadowed the on-field highs and lows of this AFL season.
Windy Hill is where it all started and where is continues to pan out.
Headlines will keep rolling next week on calls for coach James Hird's head, the stripping of premiership points or abolishment of draft picks.
It will be all the more compelling media to consume having visited the Bombers' base and felt the vibe about the fortress they have built.
Hopefully, there is still some semblance of how Windy Hill used to be.
When you watch football at Victoria Park today, the Collingwood fans are just as parochial as you imagined on home turf before usually flocking en masse to the nearby train station to journey into the city for AFL action later in the day.
Geelong's Kardinia Park stadium - under its endless stream of corporate name changes - can make your blood boil if you are not there to join in Cats' fans incessant chanting and clapping. But the ground surface is always in amazingly smooth condition.
You can feel the pulse of a club at its true home base.
You can let your mind try to recreate stories of amazing football feats from long-gone eras.
Once the opening bounce is placed this afternoon, all focus will be on Essendon's VFL team against North Ballarat in an intense battle to make finals.
There will still be a colourful vibe about the historic backdrop for what is certain to be an epic VFL battle today.
I am not sure the undertone will exactly sit all that comfortable anymore.