GRASS-ROOTS football referees will applaud the 10-game suspension handed out to Saints midfielder David Prutton.

John Challis, secretary of the Southampton Referees Association, said he wasn't shocked with the severity of the ban following Prutton's moment of madness against Arsenal.

"In this instance the FA had to act quickly and they had to be seen to be doing something," said Challis.

"For his part, Prutton was quick to hold his hands up and accept he had done wrong.

"I know what he did wasn't the most serious assault I've seen on a referee, but had the ref not got in the way then Prutton might have ended up doing something silly to the linesman - though I'm not saying he would have hit him.

"I'm sure all the local referees will be happy with the 10-game suspension.

"After all, so often what you see in the Premiership in Match of the Day on a Saturday night is repeated at Sunday League level the following day."

Meanwhile, there was great irony when Prutton yesterday revealed his choice of favourite book on what was World Book Day.

The 23-year-old selected The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman as his preferred choice of reading.

The Sky Sports website reported Prutton as saying: "It really made me think differently about the world that I am in, the world that I've made for myself and the people around me and I really like that.

"Hopefully it will change me and make me a more thoughtful, giving type of person."