As the son of Manchester United defender Harry McShane, Ian McShane was determined to follow in his father's footsteps. But after breaking his leg in three places during a youth soccer match, he decided to "pursue a less painful career" -- acting. For almost a decade, McShane starred in and produced the British TV hit 'Lovejoy.' Currently, on the HBO western series 'Deadwood,' McShane plays the sinister, cunning and foul-mouthed saloon proprietor, Al Swearengen.

What do you think about MLS?

That's bit like asking an American in England, 'What do you think about London's basketball team?' I don't want to be disparaging to Americans but it's not the same thing.

Who would your character Al Swearengen root for if he watched professional sports?

I think he'd love Iverson -- because he just doesn't give a [expletive].

But the Oakland Raiders and Al Davis -- that's Swearengen! I remember coming to the states in the '70s and I used to love the way they played the game. The Snake, Kenny Stabler, and just a collection of so-called misfits.

How would Swearengen turn a profit in professional sports today?

He'd probably steal back Ted Williams's body from the cryogenic freezer and sell it on eBay or clone him. He'd definitely kill the kid who froze him and steal his business. Or he'd be the guy who originated BALCO and who's selling all the steroids.

Who is more versed in cuss words -- Swearengen or Shaq after a loss?

I don't think Shaq is half the swearer that Al is. I think Swearengen could go down and give him some lessons. Except the first thing he'd do would be to change those awful uniforms. Purple and gold? You can't cuss if you're wearing those.

-- Will Toussaint

Ian McShane