FORMER Sunderland defender Danny Collins has been named North East Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for the 2008-09 season.

The full-back, who left Wearside to join Stoke City in August, follows in the footsteps of the likes of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn, who also won the award for their performances at the Stadium of Light.

Collins was a comprehensive winner of the award, which is decided by votes from representatives of the national and regional media based in the North-East.

Former Newcastle United defender Sebastien Bassong, now with Tottenham, was the runner-up, with ex-Middlesbrough attacker Tuncay Sanli, now a team-mate of Collins at Stoke, claiming third position.

Boro winger Adam Johnson won recognition for both his strong start to the season and his impressive displays for England Under-21s by winning the Young Player of the Year award.

Collins and Johnson will be presented with their awards at the North East Football Writers' Association dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham later this month.

The region's football writers have also invited Alan Shearer to present the coveted John Fotheringham Award to Andrew Robson, one of Sir Bobby's sons, who will represent the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at the dinner on Sunday, November 29.