Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ropey adj.

also ropy, roupy
[? SE roup, a form of catarrh, orig. a disease of poultry, thence Scot. roupy, husky, hoarse]

1. [late 18C+] of an object or person, second-rate, inadequate, unwell, run-down etc.

2. [1940s–50s] of a person, unpopular.