Under Moyes, United have fewer home points (21) than Norwich City and Hull City, with their count of 18 goals the same as Fulham and Cardiff City, who prop up the table. (source)

The phrase "prop up the table" strikes me as odd, and it doesn't appear to be a set phrase as I can't find many other attestations. Wiktionary has a definition "To be at the bottom of (a league)" under prop up; this definition, however, does not seem to appear anywhere else. "Table" here, I assume, refers to a sports league's ranking or chart. Is this phrase "prop up the table" something particular to UK sports writing?

  • I wonder if it isn't a poker idiom.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 1:31
  • The quoted definition, which seems correctly interpreted in the question, references a “football” game—soccer in the States.
    – Xanne
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 3:26


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.